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updated: 2/22/2014 8:41 AM

Endorsement: 'No' on Long Grove road tax plan

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The Daily Herald Editorial Board

No one is arguing that Long Grove roads and bridges aren't in need of repair and consistent maintenance. The question is how. Because the village does not levy a property tax, it does not have a reliable source of money to fix roads. During the building boom years, it was getting nearly $1 million annually from housing permit fees, but after 2008, those fees, like the housing market, dried up. The village has put forth this proposal: For the next 10 years, raise about $400,000 a year through a property tax. Convert 13 miles of non-thoroughfare public roads into pseudo-private roads and charge those residents $1.3 million to maintain them, via a special taxing district. Together, that makes up the $1.7 million gap between what Long Grove has for roads and what it says it needs. Nearly two-thirds of Long Grove's homes are already on private roads maintained by homeowners associations. That was the deal when they built their homes, so no one disputes it. For the residents who live along those 13 miles of road about to become private, however, that wasn't the deal. Our problem with this referendum isn't the property tax, which would cost about $160 to $200 more a year. Long Grove homeowners already pay an average of $21,000 a year, primarily for schools. The more persuasive case against the referendum is the inequity surrounding this plan. We advise a "no" vote, to send the village board back to the table to fashion a long-term solution that doesn't ask too much of one group of residents.

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