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posted: 3/18/2012 5:10 PM

Electricity, police pension tax referendums on Kane-area ballots

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On Tuesday, voters in 18 Kane County towns, plus unincorporated Kane County, will decide whether to allow their elected representatives to negotiate electricity-supply contracts on their behalf.

Residents of Elburn, who already did that in a 2011 referendum, instead are being asked to establish a tax, to fill the new police pension fund.

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And Campton Hills voters' opinions are being sought in two advisory referendums.

• Elburn voters are being asked about the police pension tax because of the town's growth in the last few years. When it shot past 5,000 residents in the 2010 Census, state law required it to change how it pays the pensions of its police officers. Until now, police officers were lumped in with the rest of the village's workers, whose pensions are through the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund. Landowners pay an IMRF property tax, based on the number of employees participating. Elburn now has to run its own pension fund for the police. If voters do not approve the tax, the village will have to find the money somewhere else in its general budget.

• Campton Hills voters will advise the village board if it should send a letter to the U.S. Postal Service, asking that it keep the Wasco Post Office open. Village leaders fear that, as the Postal Service aims to reduce its spending by closing post offices nationwide, the tiny Wasco facility, located in the General Store, could be a victim.

The voters' opinions are also sought on whether the village should investigate buying and installing one or more tornado warning sirens.

• Who is having an electricity aggregation referendum? It would be easier to list who isn't. That would be Batavia, Geneva and St. Charles, who run their own electric utilities; and North Aurora, Sugar Grove, Elburn and Wayne voters approved such measures in April 2011.

But for the record, voters in Algonquin, Aurora, Barrington Hills, Big Rock, Burlington, Campton Hills, Carpentersville, East Dundee, Elgin, Gilberts, Hampshire, Hoffman Estates, Huntley, Maple Park, Montgomery, Pingree Grove, South Elgin, West Dundee and Kane County are being asked.

A "yes" vote means you want the village or city to look in to whether, by aggregating electrical load, it can arrange for less expensive electricity for residents and small businesses. Customers would still have the option of leaving the aggregation and sticking with ComEd or another supplier of their own choosing.

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