Array of questions on DuPage County ballots
From term limits to video gambling to whether corporations are people, voters throughout DuPage County will be asked to weigh in on a wide range of topics in the November election.
Local governments -- either by choice or compelled by citizen petition drives -- have put nearly two dozen questions on various Nov. 6 ballots.
The municipality with the most ballot measures is Winfield. The village of nearly 10,000 people is asking four questions, including one about the fate of its police department.
And the most popular ballot question asks if people want shared electric service from a vendor other than ComEd as part of a package deal through their village, city or township. Voters in Bensenville, Carol Stream, Clarendon Hills, Glen Ellyn, Glendale Heights, West Chicago and Naperville Township will be asked to make that choice about electric service.
Meanwhile, there's one debate that all county residents will be ask to help resolve.
The DuPage County Board is seeking feedback on whether politicians should be allowed to simultaneously hold more than one elected office.
County board Chairman Dan Cronin, who proposed the nonbinding ballot question, has said it's not about any particular individual. Nevertheless, the advisory question will appear on the ballot at the same time Burr Ridge Mayor Gary Grasso is seeking election to one of three District 3 seats on the county board. Grasso says he plans to keep his job as mayor if he becomes a county board member.
Elmhurst Mayor Pete DiCianni announced he would resign his municipal post if he's elected to the county board in District 2. But that didn't stop the Elmhurst City Council from putting a measure on the ballot that would prohibit the mayor, aldermen, clerk and treasurer from simultaneously holding other offices.
Other ballot questions could change the structure of elected offices.
Oak Brook Park District will find out if it should increase the number of park commissioners from five to seven. Voters also will say whether they want the park board commissioners' terms reduced from six to four years.
In Bloomingdale, voters will be asked if the village's clerk position should be appointed, rather than elected. And in Lombard, a binding question will decide if the village president, clerk and trustees should be limited to serving no more than three consecutive 4-year terms.
Despite the number of ballot questions, only two taxing districts are asking voters to open their pocketbooks.
• After a proposed indoor recreation center project was rejected by 288 votes in April, the West Chicago Park District reorganized the plan and lowered its cost by millions of dollars.
That revised plan calls for a 65,000-square-foot facility to be built at Reed-Keppler Park. As a result, the district is seeking voter permission to borrow $15.5 million to build, furnish and equip the recreation center.
• The other money question is in Winfield, where the village is seeking $850,000 to $900,000 in additional property taxes each year to fix roads and to bolster the town's underfunded police pension fund. If approved by voters, the measure would double the property tax rate homeowners pay to Winfield and cost the owner of a $200,000 house roughly $155 extra in village property taxes each year, officials estimate.
The proposed referendum question comes as Winfield trustees are embroiled in a debate on whether to keep the town's police department intact.
In fact, concerns about the possibility of Winfield hiring the DuPage County sheriff's office to provide police protection prompted residents to submit a petition to prompt an advisory question on the November ballot that asks if the village should retain its own police force.
Citizen petition drives in Winfield are responsible for two other topics on the village ballot. One is an advisory question related to village spending. The other is a binding question that, if approved, would force Winfield to reinstate a ban of video gambling that the village board repealed in March.
Wood Dale also has a video gambling measure on its ballot. It was approved after the city council recently repealed a local ban of the gambling machines. But unlike Winfield, the Wood Dale ballot question is advisory and doesn't overturn the council's decision.
Finally, some local voters will be able to share their opinion on the federal debate about super PACs -- political action committees that can raise and spend unlimited funds to influence elections.
Ballots in Lisle Township and Warrenville will have the following question: "Should the United States Constitution be amended to clearly state that only individual persons, and not corporations, associations, or any other organizational entities, are entitled to the rights enumerated in the Constitution?"
The question isn't binding.
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