2019 - 2021 Annual Incidents
CY 2019 CY 2020 CY 2021
January 334 348 342
February 345 313 313
March 325 272 343
April 306 255 356
May 349 299 332
June 367 274 397
July 332 314 408
August 360 368 406
September 371 291 373
October 400 324 433
November 331 340 414
December 362 311 463
4182 3709 4580

2022-2024 Annual Incidents
2022 2023 2024
January 391 347 378
February 319 371 301
March 370 366 352
April 358 375 381
May 375 410 363
June 403 381 335
July 350 381
August 375 362
September 377 390
October 383 373
November 371 331
December 377 346
Totals 4449 4433
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June 14, 2024, Week 1 # Friday5 Release
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By Member Jim Keener
July 3, 2024

Good afternoon and welcome to a new feature we call the #Friday5 with the Bourbonnais Fire Protection District.

For those of you unfamiliar with the term #Friday5, it’s a real thing on many social media platforms. It’s where people like you can ask us questions about a specific subject or person and we must answer them.

These are YOUR questions, statements, and other communication we have collected via email, read on social media, or found on websites regarding the Nov. 6 referendum. We will be pulling these questions and statements directly from the internet and answering them for everyone to read.

Why? Because we’ve learned if one person is willing to ask a question, then most likely there are at least 50 more who are wondering the same thing. And, if that’s the case, why not answer the question so everyone will be in the know? This new feature will give you a sense of transparency with the upcoming referendum election and, hopefully, help you understand why the fire district is seeking a tax rate increase.

The Bourbonnais Fire Protection District board is wholly committed to getting the truth out there – as well as be honest about rumors that may manifest regarding this tax rate proposal. Therefore, if you ask a question or make a statement on social media, in email, or in a board meeting, we will answer the questions IN WRITING so you can freely hold us to our word.

Now, of course, because the rules state we are only able to answer five questions, if you ask a question and we don’t answer it right away, check back the following week or two. We are keeping track of all the questions and will do our best to make sure your question is answered.

One last thing – we will do our best to answer #Friday5 every week. However, sometimes business gets in the way. In those cases, we will let you know why it was pushed off and we will come back the following week.

Now, without further hype – welcome to #Friday5:

Q: Maybe the village of Bourbonnais needs to do a better job of managing our tax dollars. Why are we putting in a fancy park and not investing in our BFPD? New signs, new parks, new cameras and stoplights, etc. Oh, and an overpass that still isn’t completed Please do not tell me our tax dollars didn’t pay for it. I know better. Where else would that money come from? Our monthly property taxes are more than our actual mortgage payment. Now that’s sad.

A: This question was selected first because it highlights EXACTLY the problem the BFPD faces in getting people to understand this referendum: the Bourbonnais Fire Protection District is not controlled by and does not receive money from any of the taxing bodies INCLUDING THE VILLAGE OF BOURBONNAIS!! The fancy parks mentioned are controlled by the village or the park district; new signs, new cameras, and stoplights are controlled by the village, county, or state; an overpass is money from the state and federal government; none of them involve the Bourbonnais Fire Protection District.

If you look at your tax bills, you’ll see there is a line item named Bourbonnais Fire. This line item shows you pay property taxes directly to the BFPD. Property taxes and ambulance billing are the only funding mechanisms for the BFPD. So, if you pay a $5,000 check annually to cover ALL your property taxes, only about $250 goes directly to the BFPD itself. The rest of that tax check goes to the school districts, the village, the county, the state, and other minor taxing bodies appearing as line items on your tax bill.

As we said, this seems to be a common misunderstanding as numerous questions/statements on social media have said they want the village to cut something and give the money to the fire district. Unfortunately, this IS NOT how the system works. The best way to help people understand is to say each taxing district on your tax bill is like a utility: you pay Nicor for gas, you pay Com Ed for electricity, you pay internet, you pay for garbage, you pay for water… while they all go into the cost of living in your home, they are completely different utility bills. In that regard, complaining to the fire district about the cost of a park is like calling the electric company to complain about the cost of your internet bill. They may all be part of the overall cost of home ownership, but they are completely different companies.

To further explain this, the BFPD put out a news release explaining how your tax money is collected and separated. Please click this link to view it.

Q: Residents in Bradley are only paying $18 for fire service annually...

A: Bradley residents DO NOT ONLY PAY $18 for fire service. The $18 payment to Bradley Fire you see on your tax bill only pays for a small portion of the Bradley Fire Department retirement funds. We contacted the village of Bradley to get to the bottom of this and, according to the finance director, the cost to fund the Bradley Fire Department is about $3 million annually with about $2.7 million to cover the cost of fire department salaries. In addition, the cost of new fire trucks and other expensive items is covered by the village’s capital improvement funds.

As you know, the main cost of fire service in Bradley is covered through property taxes paid to the Village of Bradley. It appears in the Bradley budget under the general fund, where most expenses are incurred. In addition to property taxes, the village of Bradley is allowed to use other taxes to help offset the overall cost of property taxes. This includes sales tax, grants, special taxes like taxing items like cigarettes, gas, and soda, and other smaller taxes. (This is why villages specifically request residents to “shop local” because sales tax collected from local businesses goes directly to offset the cost of items like police, fire, and public works.)

So, the bottom line is people living in Bradley are not just paying $18 for fire service. They are paying much more through property taxes, sales taxes, and other taxes that you may not directly see.

Q: How many fires does the Bourbonnais Fire Protection District handle every year?

A: The BFPD covered 31 fires in 2023 and 43 in 2022, but this doesn’t tell the whole story of what the BFPD does.
While there may have been only 74 fires over the last two years, employees were dispatched to 4,433 INCIDENTS in 2023, down slightly from the 4,449 INCIDENTS in 2022. This is important because the BFPD does much more than just extinguish fires. Every time an ambulance goes out, there are two (sometimes three) BFPD employees in that rig trying to save someone’s life.
In addition, the BPFD handles car accidents, fire and safety inspections, water rescues, hazmat issues, and much, much, MUCH more. So, it’s important to note the district is not just here to put out fires – they are here to respond to emergency medical situations and keep residents safe.

Q: I don’t understand the referendum question on the ballot. Can you help explain it?

A: We’ll say it: referendum questions are ridiculously confusing. The reason why is up for interpretation but make no mistake: you need a law degree to understand a referendum question.

It’s pointless to reprint the question here because it won’t help. Just simply know it's long and confusing. Instead, understand a YES vote on the referendum means you agree to three important things: you agree to increase funding to the BFPD, the BFPD will receive an increased tax rate of 0.21, and the owner of an average home of $200,000 will see their tax bill increase by about $127 annually.

We also heard people want us to break down that number a little further, so the easiest way to understand the increase to your tax bill will be about $63 per $100,000 of your home’s equalized assessed valuation. So, if your home is worth $200,000, a yes vote means you are agreeing to increase your taxes by about $127 annually. This further breaks down to mean a $300,000 home will see an annual increase of $190, a $400,000 will see its tax bill increase to about $254 annually, and a $500,000 home will see an increase of about $315 annually.

Q: Does per year mean it will increase that amount every year?

A: NO!! The amount does not increase every year unless the value of your home also increases. So, for example, if you own a $200,000 home and you currently pay $250 to the BFPD, you would pay about $375 to the BFPD annually if the value of your home remained the same.

That’s the five questions for the first #Friday5. We’ll be back next week with more questions. Keep the questions coming!!

Hyperlinks: "Bourbonnais FPD Releases Misconceptions Regarding Individual Tax Bills"
 

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