Voters throughout DuPage will face tax hike questions in November

From proposals to build new schools to a park district's plan to acquire open space, DuPage County voters will weigh in on a variety of referendum questions during the Nov. 6 election.

Here's a look at some of the questions that will appear on the ballot.

Elmhurst Dist. 205

The largest funding request is in Elmhurst Unit District 205, where officials want to borrow $168.5 million to pay for a list of construction projects throughout the district.

Voters will be asked if District 205 should replace Lincoln and Field elementary schools and upgrade other buildings to improve security, provide science, technology, engineering and math spaces, and add classrooms for all-day kindergarten.

If the ballot measure is approved, the owner of a $500,000 house would pay an estimated $149 more a year in property taxes to the school district.

District 200

Voters will decide if Wheaton Warrenville Unit District 200 can pursue a plan to replace the aging Jefferson Early Childhood Center.

The ballot question asks if the district can build and equip a new early childhood center "without levying a separate, special property tax to finance the costs."

District 200 originally wasn't going to seek voter approval for a roughly $15 million project to replace the 60-year-old Jefferson.

But board members changed their minds in the wake of a lawsuit challenging a borrowing plan that would have let the district forge ahead with construction.

Glen Ellyn Dist. 89

Facing budget pressures caused by growing enrollment, Glen Ellyn Elementary District 89 will ask voters to approve the district's first operating tax rate increase in more than three decades.

School board members say the additional revenue would put the district on firmer financial footing and stave off educational programming cuts.

If the ballot measure is approved, the owner of a $300,000 house would pay an additional $396 a year in property taxes to the district.

Oak Brook parks

The Oak Brook Park District is seeking permission from voters to borrow $17.9 million to purchase roughly 34 acres commonly known as the "McDonald's Soccer Fields." The vacant land is south of Kensington Road between Route 83 and Jorie Boulevard.

If voters approve and the district acquires the land, Executive Director Laure Kosey said, the site would be used for recreation.

The owner of a $1 million house would pay an estimated $266 more a year in property taxes to the district.

Itasca fire district

The Itasca Fire Protection District will ask voters for roughly $1 million in additional property taxes to pay for the rising cost of salaries, building maintenance and other expenses.

"The referendum isn't about new fire trucks or new stations or more people," Chief James Burke said.

"It's just about trying to keep what we have and being able to provide the service we need to provide into the future."

If the ballot measure is approved, the district's annual property tax revenue will increase to roughly $5.6 million from about $4.6 million. Meanwhile, owners of homes valued at $200,000 would see their property tax bills increase by an estimated $114.

The district covers most of Itasca and parts of Addison and Wood Dale.

York Center fire district

In the hope of renovating its fire station, buying new vehicles and replacing aging equipment, York Center Fire Protection District will ask voters if it can borrow $3 million.

Chief Andy Bonomo said the building renovation work and purchases are needed. But the district's attempts to obtain grant money have been unsuccessful.

"We've got to replace this stuff," he said.

"And the only way we can do it now is by trying to pass a bond issue that would allow us to do this."

It's yet to be determined how much the borrowing plan would cost homeowners. Bonomo said estimates are expected to be available in early October.

The district includes half of Oakbrook Terrace, as well as unincorporated areas near Oak Brook, Lombard and Villa Park.

More issues on ballot

Other taxing bodies with binding questions on the ballot include the Glen Ellyn Mosquito Abatement District and Hinsdale High School District 86.

The mosquito abatement district wants to increase its tax rate, which would cost the owner of a $300,000 home about $5 more a year. District 86 is seeking approval to borrow $166.4 million to renovate, repair and replace portions of Hinsdale Central and Hinsdale South high schools.

DuPage County, Addison Township and York Township will have advisory questions.

The county has three advisory questions to see if voters want it to continue consolidation efforts and oppose two tax-hike proposals being considered by the state.

Addison Township has one question about western access to O'Hare and another about the Returning Veterans' Homestead Exemption. York Township's question asks if federal lawmakers should back measures to address climate change.

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