Endorsement: Yes on Dundee Township tax rate increase
When Trish Glees became Dundee Township Supervisor three years ago, she saw trouble on the horizon.
The last time the township had gone to voters for permission to raise the township's operating tax rate was 1982.
With 1,000 acres of open space to restore and maintain -- purchased after a 1996 referendum-backed loan was taken out -- and almost twice as many homes, the township was going to have budget trouble in three years.
That three years is up.
The township is asking voters to approve an increase in its rate to about $1.09 per $100 of assessed value from the current limit of 80 cents per $100.
That amounts to a tax increase of about $20 per $100,000 of home value.
Much of what the township does is mandated by state law. It must employ at least three people to maintain the two cemeteries, provide general assistance and pay for the assessor's office.
"We're very tight, very lean. But we have not kept up with the price of everything else," Glees said, referring to utilities, gasoline and other commodities.
It's important to note that the township road district, which has a sketchy past, is a separate levy on your tax bill.
It's also important to note that the township has no way to raise money other than through property taxes.
If voters say no to the tax rate increase, what's at stake?
The condition of the township's 1,000 acres of sanctuaries and preserves for which the township does not have a separate operating budget.
Dundee Township owns the western half of Raceway Woods, the Jelke Creek Bird Sanctuary, Binnie Marsh and a number of other properties.
It is required to mow paths through these, but without more money, the rest will suffer.
The Dixie Briggs Fromm Conservation Area near Algonquin is considered the jewel of the township's landholdings and would continue to get proper attention. But with the other areas, "We would lose 20 years of restoration work," she said.
And that would be a real shame.
We urge voters to say yes.