By Bob Balgemann


POPLAR GROVE – Officials from Capron Rescue Squad (CRS) and North Boone Fire Protection District No. III plan to meet this week to talk about how they can work together for the benefit of residents in their coverage area.

CRS has worked up a back-up agreement for District III to sign, said Owen Costanza, president of the CRS District Board of Trustees.

District III is agreeable to that, said Ray Morse, president of its board of trustees, though it has some questions about the agreement.

That will be discussed this week, along with related topics.

“It’s all about working together,” Morse said.

This meeting comes about after the majority of voters who went to the polls March 15 said they did not want to pay a second tax for ambulance service in District III. CRS has served that territory, plus the balance of an overall 144-square-mile taxing district, since 1957.

Approval of the referendum would have cost the owner of a home assessed at $100,000, within the boundaries of District III, another $16.67 per year.

The outcome of the vote was close, with 52.02 percent voting no and 47.98 percent voting yes.

District III President Morse said having a second referendum was possible, but that the board was not ready to begin considering that step.

In a related development, Associate Judge John Young dismissed a two-part lawsuit filed by CRS prior to the referendum. His decision, issued April 20, stated that both points were moot in view of the outcome of the referendum.

Costanza said the district had been looking for a declaratory judgment stating Capron Rescue did provide an adequate level of service in the district and that District III didn’t follow state statutes in going to referendum.

In making his decision Judge Young wrote, “There is now no actual controversy.”

Campaign contributions

Also, results of campaign contributions and expenses to date have been released by the Illinois State Board of Elections.

The Friends of North Boone Fire Protection District III was formed Feb. 9 to lobby in favor of the referendum. As such, it is required to file a report of campaign donations it received and related expenses during various time frames.

The stated purpose of that organization was to support the ballot question relating to the imposition of an ambulance tax in the North Boone Fire Protection District III of Boone County.

In the filing period from Feb. 9 through March 31, Friends received $3,450 in itemized contributions from Worley Farms: $2,000; Linda Barney-Horton: $500; Jacquelin Hoffman: $500; and John Ragland: $200. There also were non-itemized donations totaling $250, with no names attached.

The only itemized expense was $1,007.28 for a party for staff at Bravos Pizza and Italian Restaurant in Poplar Grove on March 15, the night of the election. There also were non-itemized expenses amounting to $224.10 for a total of $1,231.38, which left a balance of $2,218.62.

There only has been one donation so far during the current filing period of April 1 through June 30. That was the sum of $18,600 from the North Boone Fire District III Firemen’s Association, which raises funds for the District III Fire Department.

To this point no expenses have been listed.

Costanza said CRS did not receive any contributions nor did it have any expenses connected with the referendum. By law, he said Capron Rescue is not allowed to take a position on such issues.

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