DuPage ballot questions seeking money for schools, pool, roads
There will be just seven referendum questions on March 18 primary ballots in DuPage County, which means most voters won't be asked to approve any tax increases.
Those who do face such questions, however, will decide whether they're willing to dig deeper to pay for school building improvements, road repairs, an indoor swimming pool and fire protection.
"It seems like we have fewer referendums than we've had in the past," said Joseph Sobecki, assistant executive director of the DuPage Election Commission. The last time there were so few measures on the ballot was during the 2010 primary, which featured nine questions.
The biggest question on this year's ballots is Glenbard High School District 87's request to borrow $35 million to help pay for a $100 million master facilities plan.
The proposed improvements, which could begin in the summer and would be completed over 10 years, would include upgrades to classrooms such as science labs, infrastructure work to outdoor facilities, and adding air conditioning to Glenbard West and Glenbard East high schools.
If voters approve the ballot question, the $35 million would be funded by the extension of "sunsetting" bonds due to expire in 2017, keeping tax rates at their current rate instead of allowing them to decrease. The owner of a $265,000 home -- the median value in the district -- would pay $25 less in taxes annually if the measure is rejected.
The school board already has authorized the sale of $20 million in bonds to help pay for the capital improvements. Another $45 million in projected costs will be paid for with district operating funds.
In Lake Park High School District 108, voters will once again be asked to pay for construction of an indoor swimming pool at Lake Park High School.
This time, supporters are hoping to educate more residents about how the proposed pool at the Roselle school's east campus could be used for more than high school athletics.
If built, the pool could become a facility used by park districts within District 108's boundaries, supporters say. The school district educates students from Bloomingdale, Roselle, Itasca, Medinah, Keeneyville, Wood Dale and Hanover Park.
Like a similar measure that was defeated last year, voters must approve two ballot questions in order for the pool to become a reality.
The first will ask voters for permission to borrow the $8.5 million to construct the pool. The second will request a tax-rate increase to cover the estimated $380,000 needed annually to operate it.
If both requests are approved, the owner of a $300,000 house would pay about $38 a year more to District 108, officials estimate. The owner of a $200,000 home would pay about $26 more each year.
The $8.5 million construction loan would be paid off in 10 years, officials said.
Meanwhile, Winfield is asking voters to approve a quarter-cent sales tax increase to raise money for road repairs.
An identical measure approved last year by voters increased the total sales tax paid in Winfield to 7.5 percent. That rate took effect Jan. 1.
If the latest sales tax increase is approved, it's expected to generate roughly $75,000 a year in additional revenue for the village. Qualifying food or drug sales would be exempt.
Voters in unincorporated parts of Winfield Township will be asked to weigh in on a proposal that could save them money on their electricity bills.
The township government wants to know whether it should be allowed to arrange for the supply of electricity for its unincorporated residential and small commercial retail customers who don't opt out of a such a program.
The Oakbrook Terrace Fire Protection District, meanwhile, is seeking permission to borrow $2 million to improve its facilities, repair and maintain its fleet of fire and emergency medical vehicles and maintain its existing staffing levels.
Finally, Westmont Community School District 201 is seeking a property tax increase.