Efforts are revving up to get Kane County voters to agree to a new tax that would go for helping people with developmental disabilities.
Show You Care Kane representative Chuck Miles spoke about the effort Monday night to the Geneva City Council.
The campaign needs 19,000 signatures to get a referendum on the spring 2014 ballot.
It seeks to create a county developmental disabilities board, and to have the Kane County Board levy a tax of up to 10 cents per $100 equalized assessed valuation. The group estimated that a home with a value of $182,000 (after a homestead exemption) would pay $55 a year for the tax, if the full levy of $12 million were extended.
The group has 15,000 signatures already. Last fall, it started collecting signatures, but only had about 12,000 as the deadline for getting on the April ballot loomed. It then asked the Kane County Board to instead place the issue on the ballot. The board's executive committee refused to pass the request on to the full board. Some members were opposed to increasing property taxes; and members of the county's new mental health services committee said they wanted funding that also would help people with mental illness and substance abuse problems.
A county-board-appointed panel of three to seven people would decide how to spend the money, he said.
Geneva has a 708 mental health board that levies a tax for services for mental illness, people with developmental disabilities and people with addictions ( "708" was the number of the Illinois House resolution that enabled communities to levy mental health taxes). St. Charles has a similar board, and seven townships to the south and west are part of INC Board, NFP, a Community Mental Health Funding Alliance. It was formerly known as Mental Health and Mental Retardation Services Inc.
Miles, a Geneva resident, said about 1,100 Kane County residents are on the state's Prioritization for Urgency of Need for Services list.
The money could be used for housing; respite care; job training, job placement and sheltered workshops; speech, occupational and physical therapy; and transportation, among other things.
According to a January 2013 Daily Herald article, if voters approve the plan, the county would then ask the existing 708 boards to eliminate the developmental-disabilities benefits they offer, to avoid double taxation. But the Illinois Communnity Mental Health Act that created 708 boards mandates they dispense money for developmental disabilities.