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updated: 8/30/2014 7:40 AM

DuPage referendums concern roads, airport noise, facilities

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  • More than two dozen referendum questions will appear on the November ballot in DuPage County. Many of them deal with the issue of airplane noise from O'Hare International Airport.

       More than two dozen referendum questions will appear on the November ballot in DuPage County. Many of them deal with the issue of airplane noise from O'Hare International Airport.
    Bob Chwedyk | Staff Photographer, October 2013

 
 

More than two dozen referendum questions will appear on November ballots in DuPage County, covering topics ranging from deteriorating streets in Villa Park to complaints about airplane noise in towns near O'Hare International Airport.

Voters in two park districts, a school district, a library district and one municipality will decide whether they're willing to give those units of local government more tax money.

In Villa Park, for example, village officials are seeking permission to borrow $23 million to pay for road repairs.

Vydas Juskelis, director of public works, said Villa Park simply doesn't have enough money to do all the road resurfacing and reconstruction it should do each year.

"We have a list of streets that require complete reconstruction," Juskelis said, "and we cannot get caught up with the amount of cash flow we're generating."

If voters approve the ballot question, the village will use the $23 million to pay for a string of projects over seven years. Meanwhile, the owner of a $200,000 home would pay about $146 a year more to the village.

While Villa Park residents are determining whether to pay for roadwork, Glen Ellyn Park District voters will be deciding whether they want to build an indoor aquatic center.

The district is seeking permission to borrow $13.5 million to build and equip the proposed facility, which would be attached to the Ackerman Sports & Fitness Center at 800 St. Charles Road.

If voters approve the measure, park district property taxes would remain the same because the cost of the project would replace a portion of the tax levy that's set to expire, officials have said.

If voters reject the measure, the park district's share of the property tax bill would decrease.

In neighboring Butterfield Park District, the ballot question deals with acquiring land that recently was targeted for development.

The district wants to purchase a former gas station property so it can be used for open space, trails, gardens, a nature-based playground, a park shelter and passive recreation areas.

But to buy and improve the site at Butterfield Road and Route 53, the district needs voter approval to borrow nearly $3 million.

If the ballot question is approved, the owner of a $200,000 house would pay about $55 a year more to the park district. The other taxing districts asking for more money are the Lemont Public Library District and Westmont Community Unit School District 201. Meanwhile, a proposition in Downers Grove Township would authorize the township to implement a garbage collection and recycling program for residents in unincorporated areas of the township. Then there are the ballot questions that are intended to get voters' opinions. The Hinsdale Township High School District 86 school board wants to know if it should continue to give some teachers the chance to receive 6 percent salary increases during each of the four years before they retire.

And Burr Ridge is asking whether the village president and trustees should continue to be paid.

But 11 of the advisory questions are tied to the same issue: O'Hare noise.

Since the completion of a new runway in October, O'Hare air traffic has shifted to an east/west flow instead of multiple directions.

As a result, residents in Bensenville, Bloomingdale, Itasca and Wood Dale are complaining about increased jet noise.

"The residents are really getting clobbered with plane noise," Itasca Village President Jeff Pruyn said. "We need to let our elected officials and federal officials know that this is affecting people's quality of life. They have to address it in some manner."

Each town will have two or three questions related to O'Hare noise on their ballots. All four municipalities, for example, are asking if airlines should be required to reduce flight noise during overnight and early morning hours.

"We are not saying we're going to stop these flights overhead by virtue of these referendums," Bloomingdale Village President Franco Coladipietro said. "What we want is for the FAA and Chicago's aviation authority to be cognizant of the disruption that's happening in our community because of these flight paths -- and to do what they can to try to minimize some of the disruption."

In addition to questions from local governments, three statewide advisory questions will appear on the November ballot. One of the nonbinding questions asks if millionaires should pay an additional income tax to help fund schools.

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