Lake County voters to decide on school upgrades, tax hikes
The public meetings have been held and messages driven home. Now it's up to voters Tuesday to decide whether projects, tax proposals and other measures on the ballot in their areas merit financial support.
Here's a recap of the referendum questions voters will be deciding.
Libertyville sales tax
Voters in Libertyville are being asked to approve a 1% non-home rule sales tax expected to raise $2 million in new annual revenue to pay for road repairs and other projects.
The tax on general merchandise would not apply to medicines, titled goods such as cars and trailers, and most groceries and medicines.
Extensive information on the village website includes a myth and facts segment. Mayor Terry Weppler says educating voters is key because the state-required wording of the question is confusing.
If approved, the new 1% sales tax would be enacted and applied villagewide, and the existing 1% places for eating tax would be repealed, village officials say.
Hawthorn Woods roads
Voters are being asked to approve a property tax increase to generate $975,000 per year for a road repair program.
Special service areas created for that purpose are expiring and without the tax increase, there will be no road program in place, village officials say.
The referendum effort has been dubbed Hawthorn Woods Paves the Way. According to information presented to voters, 90% of village streets are in urgent need of resurfacing or reconstruction.
If the request is approved Tuesday, the owner of a home valued at $400,000 would pay about $275 per year in property tax. The new tax would become effective next year.
Annual sticker fees of $30 per vehicle would be eliminated if the request is approved, village officials say.
District 41 bond issue
Voters in Lake Villa Elementary District 41 will be asked for authorization to borrow money to fund school building projects.
Soundly defeated last April, the request has been simplified to one question instead of two and the amount being sought reduced by $19.3 million to $30.7 million by cutting proposed projects.
The question faced organized opposition last time. But the group behind that says the district listened to their concerns and is not opposing the revised version of the request.
To get to the lower figure, $4.4 million in work at Pleviak School was dropped, and 21st Century Learning and other projects were eliminated or downsized.
Because the district is paying off debt, tax bills will drop no matter the outcome. If the referendum fails, the tax bill for the owner of a $250,000 house will drop $773 annually. If approved and the money is borrowed for 15 years, the decrease would be about $368.
Antioch Twp. fire district
The fire district, which covers about 35 square miles including the village of Antioch, is asking for a tax increase to generate about $1.57 million per year for personnel and building repairs.
If approved, owners of a house valued at $200,000 would pay about $163 in annual taxes.
Fire Chief Jon Cokefair says service calls have increased 10% to 3,450 in two years, with more growth coming.
"We've got to do something to plan for that," he said.
Three aging fire stations are in need of various repairs and upgrades, he added.
About $800,000 of the request annual amount would go to staffing. The district does not pay pensions, Cokefair emphasized, and the 12 positions manning the three stations 24 hours a day are contracted or part-time employees.
Fox Lake District 114
District 114 is pursuing a "Zero Rate Change Ballot Proposal" to generate about $1.3 million each year to be used mainly for roof replacements and other needed work at its two schools.
Some money also will be set aside for salaries, as the district teachers are among the lowest paid in Lake County, officials say.
Voters are being asked to allow the tax rate to be set at a level that will generate annual funding for those purposes.
Officials say that if approved, taxes will stay about the same because the debt on Lotus School is being paid off. The owner of a home valued at $200,000 will pay about $394 in annual taxes, if voters back the measure. Bills will drop if the request is defeated.
Barrington District 220
Barrington Area Unit District 220 is seeking voter approval to borrow $147 million for building projects, including safety and security upgrades, as well as roofing and utility work, at all its schools.
Residents will see a reduction in their property tax bills in any case, but how much depends on the outcome.
If the measure passes, the owner of a home valued at $500,000 would see property taxes decrease of about $75 a year. However, if rejected by voters, the reduction would be about $468.