Fox River Fire District reps attend meeting to object
ELBURN—The Elburn Village Board on Monday passed a resolution opposing the disconnection of a portion of the Elburn and Countryside Fire Protection District (ECFPD), despite objection from Fox River and Countryside Fire Rescue District representatives in attendance.
A referendum question that asks whether the territory in question should be annexed into the Fox River Fire District will come before voters in the proposed disconnection area on the Nov. 4 General Election ballot.
Fox River District Board President Jim Gaffney and Fire Chief Greg Benson, along with attorney Ken Shepro, attended the Village Board meeting to protest board approval of the resolution.
Shepro told the Village Board that a governmental body should not expend funds on any public question. According to Shepro, the board’s passage of the resolution amounts to the board attempting to influence citizens to vote against the referendum.
“Clearly the purpose of this resolution is to influence the outcome of the referendum,” Shepro said. “Otherwise, why would you pass it?”
Village President Dave Anderson said that people will read the resolution and form their own opinion on the issue. He said that the resolution simply states that the board opposes the de-annexation, that it doesn’t get into politics and it doesn’t urge voters to vote in a particular way.
According to Gaffney, a group of citizens from the area in question, which is bound by LaFox Road to the east, Anderson Road to the west, Campton Hills Road to the south and Empire Road to the north, came to them saying that they weren’t comfortable with the service they were getting from the Elburn department. In response, he said, district officials helped them with a petition to detach themselves from the ECFPD.
The petition was signed by 128 residents in the area this summer, and a Kane County judge determined that the question should be put to the voters. Approximately 3,000 residents live in the area that would be affected.
Gaffney said the Fox River District can provide the same services to these residents, and at a lower rate. He said he thought the board was doing its residents a disservice by telling them to spend more money than necessary for fire protection services.
Elburn Fire Chief Kelly Callaghan attended a Village Board meeting last month to let village trustees know about the situation and to ask for their endorsement.
Callaghan told the board that the disconnection would mean a significant loss of revenue for the Elburn Fire District—the area in question is 10 percent of its square miles and 21 percent of its assessed value. The Elburn Fire District’s expenses would stay the same, and Callaghan said the disconnection would place a financial hardship on the district.
After listening to Fox River officials’ objections on Monday, village trustee Bill Grabarek said that he thought the disconnection could diminish Elburn’s ability to fulfill its obligations to protect the health, safety and welfare of Elburn residents. He asked that wording to that effect be added to the resolution.
The board then unanimously voted to approve the resolution. Trustees Ethan Hastert and Ken Anderson were absent, but Dave Anderson said they had participated in the decision to create such a resolution.
The Elburn Fire District is in the process of building a new station at Route 38 and Anderson Road. The district also opened a temporary station in the Lily Lake area on Oct. 1, while it continues to look for property for a permanent spot. Elburn Fire District officials say the Lily Lake station will allow them to respond more quickly to residents in that area.