Several DuPage taxing bodies asking for more money

Knowing they won’t get another chance to ask voters for more money until next year, several government bodies in DuPage County are seeking approval for tax increases in Tuesday’s election.

A variety of ballot questions will be decided, from Wheaton Warrenville Unit District 200’s $17.6 million proposal to replace an aging preschool to a proposed sales-tax hike in Winfield.

Without a November election, taxing bodies won’t be able to seek another ballot question until March 2014.

In the meantime, DuPage’s overall voter turnout on Tuesday is expected to be only about 20 percent.

Still, DuPage County Election Commission officials are predicting ballot questions will be the reason many voters head to the polls.

“We see higher turnouts in the races where there are propositions,” said Joseph Sobecki, the commission’s assistant executive director.

That’s because voters care most about issues that hit them in the pocketbook, Sobecki said.

Voters are being asked to approve property tax hikes in District 200, Lake Park High School District 108, Itasca Elementary District 10 and Butler Elementary District 53.

District 200 is seeking permission from voters to borrow $17.6 million to build a new Jefferson Early Childhood Center and demolish the existing structure in Wheaton.

And District 10 is asking voters to give the district $1 million annually in extra taxes to fill a budget shortfall that, officials say, was caused by several factors, including decreased state and federal funding.

In order for District 108 and District 53 to build their desired construction projects, voters must approve multiple ballot questions.

Two ballot questions related to a proposed swimming pool at Lake Park High School’s east campus must be approved for the project to go forward.

The first question seeks authorization for District 108 to borrow $8 million to build the pool at the Roselle school. The second asks for increased taxes to cover the estimated $380,000 needed annually to operate the facility.

In Oak Brook, getting voter approval to borrow $15 million is just one part of District 53’s plan to build a proposed $40 million K-8 school at the village-owned Sports Core. Voters also must give the village permission to sell Sports Core land to the district before the new school could be built on up to 8.5 acres near Oak Brook Public Library.

As for Winfield’s sales tax proposal, the village is seeking voter permission to add a quarter-cent local sales tax to other sales taxes already in place.

If approved, the total sales tax paid in Winfield would jump from 7.25 percent to 7.50 percent and generate about $75,000 a year in extra revenue for the cash-strapped village.

In Naperville, a ballot question will determine whether the city continues to elect city council members at large.

The question on the ballot will ask: “Shall the city of Naperville elect city council at large instead of part of the councilmen at large and part of the councilmen from districts?”

An affirmative vote would overturn the results of a November 2010 ballot question that called for the establishment of a ward-based system by 2015. Right now, the entire community is allowed to vote on all city council candidates.

Tuesday’s ballot also will ask voters in Villa Park and Bartlett whether their towns should be should be allowed to arrange for the supply of electricity for residential and small commercial retail customers who haven’t opted out of a such a program.

Finally, Addison Township is asking voters to chime in on a pair of advisory questions.

The first will ask voters if Illinois lawmakers should shift the state’s share of pension costs for local schools to property taxpayers. The other question will ask if the township should continue providing transportation services for seniors citizens and persons with disabilities.

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