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2% Can Make a Big Difference

The Foreign Fire Insurance Fund is one fiscally responsible way the St. Charles Fire Department continues to improve its service to the community

St. Charles, like all municipalities in Illinois, has a Foreign Fire Insurance Tax Board that receives and allocates revenue disbursed from a 2% tax on fire insurance policies sold by out-of-state (“foreign”) insurance companies. The Illinois Municipal League collects this tax from the insurance companies and distributes them to fire departments across the state. Distributions are based on the size of the fire department. For St. Charles, that usually amounts to $68,000-$74,000 each year.

The St. Charles Foreign Fire Insurance Tax Board is comprised of sworn members of the Fire Department elected to the post by their peers and has strict rules governing what the funds can be used for. “The meetings of the Board are open and the request approval process is completely transparent,” said Fire Chief Joe Schelstreet. “The Board is very fiscally conservative and works through an annually adopted budget. They scrutinize each request carefully.” 

Established by state statue, the Foreign Fire Insurance Fund provides supplemental funding that can be used to purchase items. For example, in the City budget, funding was allocated to replace five cardiac monitors. But with an approved expenditure from the Foreign Fire Insurance Fund, the Fire Department was able to purchase additional options on those monitors.

“We are always looking for ways to improve our service to the community, while keeping a watchful eye on costs,” said Chief Schelstreet. “The Foreign Fire Insurance Fund helps enhance equipment purchases without costing the City or taxpayer.”

Some notable projects funded recently include:

  • Cardiac monitor upgrades
  • Additional firefighter safety equipment
  • Forcible entry door simulator
  • Upgraded LED scene lighting on apparatus
  • Dive team trailer

For more information, contact Chief Schelstreet at or 630.377.4458            

updated Aug 01, 2018