Fox Lake voters will decide in the March 18 primary whether to raise taxes to improve local roads.
The village board agreed Nov. 12 to put a referendum on the ballot that asks voters whether the village should issue $6 million in bonds to repair 23 miles of roads.
The village would add $2 million from the general operating fund for a total road repair project worth $8 million, Mayor Donny Schmit said.
If voters approve, the owners of a $150,000 home would see their property tax bills increase about $86 annually for 15 years, officials said. A Q&A about the referendum can be found at foxlake.org.
"At my very first meeting as mayor, I was presented with two petitions from homeowners asking me to fix roads," Schmit said. "I'm constantly getting calls from people asking for their road to be repaired. They say the roads are bringing down the value of their houses and causing damages to their cars."
After approving a water rate increase late last year, Schmit said, officials decided to give residents the choice of whether to raise taxes for road repairs.
"If people vote against the referendum, we will do our $2 million in repairs and keep trying to fix them as we go," he said. "But, if they approve the referendum, it will take two years for all the roadwork to be completed."
The project would focus on roads rated to be the worst, he said.
"Currently, the village is responsible for maintenance on 55 miles of roadways," Schmit said. "With that amount, we should be repairing about 4 miles of roads every year. But we have only been repairing about 1 mile a year because of money."
Schmit said the village contacted its representatives at the township, county, state and federal level in search of funding to help repair roads and was told nothing was available.
"So we are bringing it to the voters to decide," he said.
Other referendum questions on the March 18 ballot in Lake County are:
•Libertyville voters will be asked whether the village should be allowed to borrow up to $11.5 million, to be repaid with property taxes. The money would be used to convert the former Libertyville High School, known as the Brainerd building, into a community center. If the bonds are issued, the owner of a home valued at $300,000 would pay an estimated $141.98 more in property taxes each year.
• Voters will decide if Round Lake Area Unit District 116 should borrow $29 million for a high school expansion and a variety of building improvements. If voters approve, school officials said, current debt would be restructured and extended and taxes would not increase.
• The village of Long Grove will ask voters whether they want to authorize a new property tax for repair and replacement of certain roads. As presented, the new tax would not last more than 10 levy years. The proposed tax rate would amount to less than 1 percent of a property tax bill, village officials say. The owner of a home valued at $750,000 would pay an extra $166.