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posted: 3/16/2014 8:00 AM

Fox Valley voters to decide four referendums Tuesday

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  • This photo of DeKalb Park District's indoor, artificial turf facility illustrates what Huntley Park District would like to build if voters approve the $18 million request on Tuesday's ballot.

      This photo of DeKalb Park District's indoor, artificial turf facility illustrates what Huntley Park District would like to build if voters approve the $18 million request on Tuesday's ballot.
    Courtesy of Huntley Park District

 
 

Come Tuesday, voters in Kane and McHenry counties will decide whether to pay more for the care of developmentally disabled residents, if Huntley needs a new indoor turf facility, whether the McHenry County Board chairman should be selected or elected, and if Algonquin can negotiate for lower electricity rates for its residents.

Developmentally disabled care

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Kane County residents would pay about $55 more, on average, in property taxes if voters approve a new tax to benefit developmentally disabled residents.

The tax would create what is known as a 377 board throughout the county. The unpaid board would distribute the taxes collected to local service providers. The Kane County Board would set the actual levy.

If the levy is set to the maximum amount allowed through the referendum, the new tax would reap about $13 million for developmentally disabled residents.

Proponents say the new tax is necessary because money collected by local 708 boards, which exist only in the south and central portions of the county, isn't enough to meet the need for services. Some local developmentally disabled residents wait a decade or longer for the ongoing care they need.

Opponents say local residents already have too much of a tax burden. They argue volunteer charitable contributions to the nonprofit service providers are a better method to raise funds than forcing residents to pay a tax. There is also concern of a double-tax impact as many of the service providers already receive funding through the state.

Huntley parks vote

Huntley Park District seeks voter approval to borrow $18.75 million to build an indoor, artificial turf facility, and possibly buy and develop more land or upgrade existing park facilities.

The proposed turf facility -- to be built west of Deicke Park off Route 47 -- would include a recreation area featuring bocce ball, multipurpose rooms, and two indoor soccer field-sized areas that can be used for football, soccer, lacrosse and marching band practice. The 250-feet-by-250 feet turf area would be surrounded by a rubberized track for winter walkers. Bleachers also would be included.

If approved, residents won't pay more in property taxes because the park district said it would restructure existing debt.

Taxes could go down with restructuring of current bonds. However, if voters reject the bond issue, taxpayers would see a reduction, on average, of $125 per year, according to the park district.

Various athletic groups support the turf facility idea because there is none like it in the Huntley area. The closest ones are in DeKalb, Schaumburg and Palatine.

The park district serves 40,000 residents within the village, the western portions of Lake in the Hills and Algonquin, and rural areas west of Huntley.

Algonquin electricity

Algonquin voters will again weigh in on whether they want the village to negotiate lower electricity rates on their behalf.

If voters approve the measure, Algonquin would negotiate a bulk purchase of electricity to secure savings for residential and small commercial property owners.

ComEd would still provide service, delivery and billing. Residents would have the right to opt out of any new coverage.

Algonquin voters rejected the measure by 11 votes in 2012.

County board chair

Voters in McHenry County will choose whether the county board chairman should be elected by the electorate or continue to be a county board member chosen by his or her peers.

If approved by voters, the measure would allow any resident of the county -- not just county board members -- to run for the four-year seat starting in 2016. The county board would expand from 24 to 25 members, and the chairman would vote only to break a tie.

County board members now choose a chairman every two years.

• Daily Herald staff writers Lenore Adkins, Elena Ferrarin and James Fuller contributed to this report.

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