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posted: 2/20/2013 4:22 PM

Blackberry Township seeks more taxes for roadwork

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Blackberry Township residents will be asked in April to almost double the amount of property taxes they pay for road repair, maintenance and snowplowing.

"I know that the economy is not recovering like it was hoped," highway Commissioner Rodney Feece said about asking for more taxes. But, he said, at least half of the township's roads are "in dire need of repaving," especially because the district has been able to afford to do about one mile a year.

In an April 9 referendum, voters will decide whether to raise the limiting tax rate for the township road district from 16.5 cents per $100 equalized assessed valuation to 30.26 cents.

Doing so would allow the district to collect up to $1.56 million in taxes a year, starting in 2014. Its last extension was $843,290. It also receives a cut of the state's motor fuel sales tax; in fiscal year 2011 it received $102,042.

Feece said that the district must give 17 percent of its taxes every year to the villages of North Aurora and Elburn, by law, for the roads that lie in the villages.

In 2012, that left the district with $698,601 to maintain 58 miles of road, including repaving, repairs, spreading salt and plowing snow. It also maintains bridges and road signs. Twenty-six of those miles are in the Mill Creek subdivision. (Part of Mill Creek is in the Geneva Township road district; those residents pay a tax rate of 23.2 cents.)

Feece said it costs about $100,000 per mile to prepare, resurface and re-stripe a road.

If the increase is approved, the owner of a $200,000 home would pay about $93 more a year in taxes.

Voters rejected a similar increase in referendums in 2003 and 2004.

The township will have two informational meetings, including photos of the conditions of roads, at 7 p.m. March 12 at Rejoice! Lutheran Church, 0N377 North Mill Creek Drive; and at 7 p.m. March 14 at the township hall, 43W390 Main St., Elburn.

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