Emmet-Chalmers Fire seeking tax hike to escalate budget, tackle equipment needs

Published: Mar. 23, 2023 at 9:43 PM CDT
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MCDONOUGH COUNTY (WGEM) - Voters living in Emmet Township and Chalmers Township will decide whether or not to implement a property tax extension limiting rate for Emmet-Chalmers Fire Protection District.

If passed, the increase would stagger over four years.

As identified on the ballot, initial property taxes on a $100,000 home would be $43.19. After two years, taxes would jump to $56.15. After three years the tax would be $73, and $94.40 after the fourth year.

ECFPD Fire Chief, David Estes, said the department’s current budget stands at $30,000. Formerly $50,000, as $20,000 was used to make payments on a bond that is not paid off.

After four years, he said the department’s budget could potentially jump to $80,000 with the tax increase.

“The taxpayers are getting a real good value for their money we feel,” Estes said. “[$94] is a pretty small amount considering what we can do for them.”

The primary reason for the tax hike would be to replace the department’s aging fire trucks.

Estes said the average age of their trucks is 26 years old, one being 40 years old.

“All the trucks, fire trucks, fire engines, tankers, they’re all very expensive, several hundreds of thousands of dollars, so we’re looking to save up some money over several years and be able to replace our engine, maybe a brush truck, a tanker years and years down the road,” Estes added.

One truck they’d like to purchase is estimated to cost roughly $400,000.

Estes said the department serves approximately 2,000 McDonough County residents. ECFPD was founded in 1976 and currently has 10 volunteers.

For voter information throughout the Tri-States, click here.

The McDonough County April 4 Consolidated Election ballot:

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