The Brookport Fire Department has established a Foreign Fire Tax Board consisting of seven members.

The president is Bill Copley as fire chief, secretary is Jim Corry, treasurer is Natalie Harris and the other board members elected are Chalon Spore, Alex Wooten, Donna Copley and Paul Martin.

The Illinois Municipal League (IML) collects insurance taxes from companies outside the state. It then disperses the money to fire departments across the state for the needs of the fire department.

Illinois State Statute states a board shall be created within the fire department of each municipality with fewer than 500,000 inhabitants that have an organized fire department. The bonded treasurer receives the appropriated money and shall pay out the money upon order of the board for the maintenance, use and benefit of the department. Funds will be audited annually to verify funds are expended appropriately.

This money goes directly to the fire department and not the general fund of the city. Usually, the department receives about $1200 to $2000 per year from the IML.

In order to mitigate costs of running the fire department, the City of Brookport passed an ordinance at the Aug. 10 council meeting to establish and implement a program to charge rates for the deployment of emergency and non-emergency services by the fire department.

Mitigation rates only apply to persons who are not residents. Residents already pay through their property taxes. Residents are defined as any person who maintains full-time residence or is a majority owner of a business of real property located in the City of Brookport.

Unlawful events — such as intoxicated drivers, hazmat cleanup, intentional and negligent acts that violate any city ordinance or state statute — may be subject to the rates regardless of residency.

Exhibit A of the ordinance has a listing of rates ranging from $435 to an accident response to $2500 for a hazmat response. Most fire insurance policies will cover those expenses.

It is the city’s desire to implement a fair and equitable procedure to collect mitigation rates and establish a billing system in accordance with applicable laws, regulations and guidelines.

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