Longview, Broadlands getting new fire stations
Broadlands Longview Fire Protection District officials will be able to move forward with replacing two crumbling fire stations.
Voters on Tuesday approved issuing up to $1 million in bonds to fund the projects.
"We're thrilled our taxpayers are working with us on this," Trustee Jim Jones said.
After election results are verified, Jones said officials will work with attorneys on land acquisition and then put out construction bids for the new Longview station.
The bond issue will be paid off over a 20-year period. Jones said the district's tax rate will go from a little more than 30 cents per $100 of assessed valuation to about 49 cents. He said property owners would see an average increase of $20 to $30 a year.
Broadlands' current station is 60-plus years old, and Longview's is at 50-plus. Jones said both were built for fire trucks that were much smaller than those required today.
"We need more room," Jones said, adding larger stations have been needed for years.
He said both stations were constructed under different building codes and are now sinking.
If the proposal had failed, officials would have had to consider building one central station in a district that covers 67 square miles.
Jones said officials hope to break ground on the new Longview station in 90 to 100 days. He said construction of the Broadlands station will take longer.
"We're still negotiating on land," he said.
Other referendums in Champaign County didn't fare as well. Here are the results:
Prairieview-Ogden school district.A proposal to increase the district's tax rate from $1.92 per $100 of assessed valuation to $2.32 failed by a 319-181 vote.
Superintendent Victor White said now the district could be forced to eliminate two teaching positions in the upcoming fiscal year.
White said the increase was needed to boost the education fund and offset the loss of general state aid revenue. That funding has dropped from $500,000-plus in the 2007-08 fiscal year to $140,000 in 2012-13.
White said the increase would've brought in about $200,000 in additional funding. Officials estimated the owner of a $120,000 home would have paid an additional $160 a year.
Rantoul Township. Voters rejected a proposal to increase the tax rate for the general assistance, or welfare, fund from 4 cents per $100 of assessed valuation to 10 cents.
"We lost by about 75 percent in every precinct," Supervisor James Rusk said. "I'll have to go back to the board, and we'll have to decide the next step."
South Homer Township. Residents voted down a tax increase that would have raised an extra $30,000 a year for the general fund.
Officials proposed the increase — about $35 a year for the owner of a $100,000 home — to help offset increasing expenses, Supervisor Don Morgan said. He projected the township's budget will have a $20,000 deficit this fiscal year and next, but said they will be covered with reserve funds.
"The clerk suggested we go again in the next election, but I don't know whether it's worth it or not," Morgan said. "We'll just have to cut expenses."
Morgan said the township has not had a tax increase for at least 30 years.