Major referendums in Kane County: Police, libraries, rec center and more

  • Pingree Grove is asking voters to approve a new tax levy that would raise an estimated $1.2 million a year to fund police services.

    Pingree Grove is asking voters to approve a new tax levy that would raise an estimated $1.2 million a year to fund police services. Daily Herald File Photo, 2011

 
 
Posted3/16/2020 5:30 AM

Voters across Kane County will find referendum questions on their election ballots Tuesday. Here is a look at the major ones.

Pingree Grove

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Voters in Pingree Grove will be asked to approve a new tax levy of 0.6% that would yield $1.2 million a year exclusively to fund police protection services.

The money will allow the village to have two police officers per shift -- currently there is only one officer overnight -- along with increasing wages for officers, buying more police equipment like video recorders, and upgrading police vehicles, which currently have an average 100,000 miles.

The growing village has had a 40% increase in police calls in the past four years, but fewer officers because wages are not competitive with other police departments, village officials say.

The median home in the village has a fair market value of $189,000 and would see a property tax increase of about $343 a year with a "yes" vote, officials estimate. However, if the referendum succeeds, the village board will eliminate two special service areas of taxation, SSA 4 and SSA 9, where most homes in the village are located. That means that for those homes, the actual property tax impact would be about $180 a year, village officials said.

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Gail Borden Library

The Gail Borden Public Library District will ask voters to keep library taxes at the same amount after it finishes paying off its bonds next year. The Elgin-based district plans to use the money for building maintenance, IT and security, and to preserve current services and hours of operations. There also are plans to expand the South Elgin branch.

A "yes" vote means keeping library taxes at the current level. If voters say "no," the library will not collect roughly $2.6 million a year and owners of a house with a median value of $192,000 would pay about $48 less in property taxes a year, library officials said.

Townships

Elgin and Dundee townships are asking voters for a property tax hike to fund the creation of their own mental health boards, know as 708 boards. A "yes" vote would establish a maximum property tax levy of 0.15% whose revenues would be distributed among local agencies that provide services in the areas of mental health, substance abuse and developmental disabilities.

The property tax increase would amount to about $85 annually for a house with an assessed value of $55,494, which is the median in Elgin Township, according to calculations by advocates. In Dundee Township, the median assessed value of a home is $60,533, for which a homeowner would pay an extra $91 per year with the tax hike, according to the agency's website.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Batavia Park District:

Batavia Park District is seeking voter approval for a $27.1 million bond issue to build a 65,000-square-foot Batavia Activity & Recreation Center in the Fox Valley Business Park at the intersection of Belleview Lane and Oswalt Avenue, near Route 25.

Executive Director Allison Niemela says the "program-rich but facility-poor" district needs indoor space.

If voters approve the plan, the owner of a $300,000 house would see an annual increase in their park district property bill of $178 for 20 years. That same homeowner currently pays $556 annually to the district.

The proposed center, which would include an eight-lane pool, a running track, combination indoor turf area and multi-activity court gym, and multipurpose rooms, was designed based on feedback from the community.​

Fire district

Voters in the Pingree Grove and Countryside Fire Protection District will decide whether the district should borrow $8.5 million to build and equip two new fire stations. Voters have rejected similar questions three times since April 2017.

If the measure is approved, owners of a home with a $250,000 fair market value would pay an estimated $46 more in property taxes, and the district would commit to paying $300,000 per year for 20 years, fire officials said.

The district has three fire stations. Under the construction plan, Station 2 on Rippburger Road and Station 4 on Plank Roa would be closed, and new stations would be built on Highland Avenue just east of Coombs Road -- provided the district can find property there -- and on land the district owns on Dittman Road south of Plato Road.

• Daily Herald staff writers Lauren Rohr and Bob Smith contributed to this report.

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