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posted: 1/18/2018 5:34 AM

Four referendums on March ballot in Lake County

Lake County voters to see these questions

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  • Deer Park voters will be asked in March if they want to increase the sales tax to pay for infrastructure projects.

      Deer Park voters will be asked in March if they want to increase the sales tax to pay for infrastructure projects.
    Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer 2017

 
 

Four referendum questions will appear on Lake County ballots in the March 20 primary election, the fewest since March 2014.

Two of the questions concern school funding. One focuses on a plan to increase a municipal sales tax to pay for infrastructure projects. And the fourth aims to increase taxes for a small fire protection district.

Lake County Clerk Carla Wyckoff, whose office oversees elections, suggested a few possible explanations for the relatively low number of questions on the ballot.

Some government agencies weighing construction projects may be eschewing tax-rate increases for other funding options. Others, Wyckoff said, may be waiting to put proposed tax increases on the ballot during a local election, when voter turnout generally is lower than when state and federal offices are up.

Here's a look at the proposals:

Deer Park sales tax

Deer Park residents will be asked if the village's portion of the sales tax rate should increase by a quarter percentage point, to a half percent. That would bring the overall sales tax rate in town to 7.5 percent.

The higher tax rate, if approved, could raise an additional $400,000 annually for infrastructure projects.

Stormwater drainage improvements and street resurfacing are among the priorities, Mayor Dale Sands said.

"We completed our first villagewide stormwater assessment in 2017 and identified over 50 projects for completion," Sands said.

Deer Park voters approved an identical sales tax increase in 2010.

Gavin District 37

Gavin Elementary School District 37 officials want to borrow $5.96 million to fund life-safety improvements at their two schools, Gavin Central and Gavin South.

Proposed projects include roof repairs at both schools, the addition of air conditioning to more rooms at Gavin South, asphalt replacement at both schools and the construction of a science, technology, engineering and math lab at Gavin Central.

The plan calls for the district's tax levy to remain at its current level, rather than decreasing as scheduled, said Mark Lindem, Gavin's chief business official. If that happens, tax payments to the district should remain the same.

If voters reject the proposal, property tax bills will drop about $85 for every $100,000 of home value starting with payments to be made in 2019, Lindem said.

District 95

Lake Zurich Unit District 95 officials have proposed borrowing $77.6 million to pay for a variety of construction and infrastructure projects, including building a new elementary school that would replace 88-year-old May Whitney Elementary.

Officials also have proposed installing air conditioning systems in five buildings, renovating libraries at six schools and other projects.

A $65 million construction loan voters approved in 2000 soon will be paid off, resulting in a lower tax rate. If voters support the plan, residential property taxes will decrease about $14 for every $100,000 of home value starting with 2019's payments. If voters reject the plan, taxes will decrease more -- roughly $118 for every $100,000 of home value, according to a fact sheet on the District 95 website.

Arden Shore North

The Arden Shore North Fire Protection District is a small district in an unincorporated area near the Great Lakes Naval Station in North Chicago. There is no Arden Shore fire department, however; the homes are served by the Lake Bluff Fire Department.

Arden Shore North residents will be asked if the district's property tax limiting rate should be increased. Details about the potential impact on tax bills weren't available.

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