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Article updated: 2/4/2011 4:12 PM

Borrowing and term limits part of referendum mix

By Bob Susnjara

Mundelein High School's borrowing request and the village of Lakemoor's term-limits idea are among the spring ballot propositions set in Lake County.

In addition to the referendum questions, voters will decide a plethora of races for villages, schools, park districts and libraries on April 5. Early voting will begin March 14.

Although the now-certified ballot question is worded mostly in legalese, Mundelein High School District 120 will ask voters to decide whether officials should borrow $10 million for campus improvements.

Officials said the proposition wouldn't boost the district's current tax rate if approved. They say approving the request would let Mundelein High extend current debt as a way to generate the $10 million.

District 120 Superintendent Jody Ware said Friday the money would go toward basic needs for the 50-year-old high school. Plans call for restroom renovations, electrical upgrades, pool repairs, roofing improvements and other efforts.

"If the voters say 'no,' we're going to have to ask again," Ware said. "The needs are not going to go away."

Should voters reject Mundelein High's proposal, the tax rate would decrease by about 11 cents per $100 of equalized assessed valuation during the 2012-13 school year, officials said. That amounts to a possible decrease of about $69 for the owner of a house valued at $200,000.

If approved, the loan would be repaid by 2017. At that point, the tax rate would drop by 13 cents per $100 of equalized assessed valuation over the next two years, officials said, provided a future board doesn't increase taxes.

Lakemoor voters will have a chance to weigh in on a political philosophy April 5. They'll be asked if the mayor and village board trustees should be limited to three consecutive 4-year terms starting in the April 2013 election.

Mayor Todd Weihofen said he senses term limits are in demand, particularly in a state where political gridlock is common in Springfield. Weihofen broke a 3-3 village board vote in December to place the term-limits question on the ballot.

"People in Illinois are fed up with career politicians," Weihofen said Friday.

Lakemoor Trustee Kimberly Beach was among those opposed to term limits, contending there may not be enough candidates to rotate in and fill all open positions in a town of about 5,000 residents.

Nine binding referendum questions will be on the ballot in Lake County. There also will be some advisory questions, such as one in Grayslake asking whether the village should have the authority to arrange electricity for residential and small commercial retail customers who have not opted out of such a program.

Voters in some sections of southern Lake County will decide a proposed tax hike at Wheeling-based Indian Trails Public Library District. Approval would mean an owner of a $200,000 market value home on the Lake County side of the library district would pay an extra $18.50 in the first year.

Some residents in western Lake County will be eligible to vote on whether McHenry Community High School District 156 should be allowed to borrow $8 million through what are known as working-cash bonds.

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