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posted: 3/18/2012 4:35 PM

Ballot questions range from electricity to fund road repairs in Lake County

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Not every decision Lake County voters will make at the polls Tuesday will involve selecting a politician.

There are a handful of referendum questions on ballots scattered throughout the county that range from tax increases to fund road repairs in a couple of towns to a widespread issue involving electricity.

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The ballot in Libertyville includes a question about whether to allow the village to issue $20 million in bonds to fund road repairs.

The cost of voting 'yes' is an increase in property taxes for a house valued at $300,000 by about $34 per year in each of the next four years, to a total of about $136 per year for the last 16 years of the bond repayment.

Village officials said they spend about $1 million annually from motor fuel tax and vehicle stickers to maintain roads. However, they say roads are deteriorating at a faster rate, and need the extra money to keep pace. Waiting to rebuild rather than fix roads would cost substantially more, officials say.

With voter approval the village expects to issue the bonds in four, $5 million increments. Proceeds would be used to repair 30 miles or about one-third of village streets over several years beginning in 2013.

In Kildeer, voters also face a road funding question, but that decision involves a proposal to raise the sales tax by 0.5 percentage points. That would bring the village's sales tax on items such as clothing, restaurant food and household goods up to 7.5 percent

Village officials say road resurfacing and reconstruction are behind schedule and without additional resources, roadway improvements will continue to fall behind.

Officials said there are no obvious roads in dire need of repair in Kildeer, they are trying to prevent more expensive repairs later.

If voters say yes, the resulting sales tax increase would generate an estimated $500,000 annually.

Fox Lake Elementary District 114 voters are being asked whether to extend a property tax increase to address continuing budget problems or allow it to expire and take the savings.

The 25-cent tax rate increase was approved six years ago, and officials want permission to keep it in place for another five years. That would allow the district to borrow $3.75 million.

A defeat at the polls would mean cuts in teachers and programs, district officials have said.

The increase is set to end in 2013 and would mean the owner of a $200,000 home would save about $166 in property taxes paid to District 114 annually.

Voters in 31 towns in Lake County will decide whether to authorize town leaders to negotiate deals for electricity for residents and small business owners. The end result could mean contracts with electricity suppliers that are cheaper than ComEd.

Voting "yes" will mean municipalities will have the power to seek bids from and switch to any of the 25 or so retail electric suppliers certified by the Illinois Commerce Commission.

A 'no' vote means people could still renegotiate their own contracts, but those contracts could be higher because group rates generally yield better offers.

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