Fire district, library, sales tax questions on Kane County ballot

Will the sixth time work for Fox River and Countryside Fire/Rescue District, which is seeking a tax increase?

Do residents of the Huntley Area Library District want to borrow more than $12 million so the library can double the size of its building?

Those are two of the nine referendum questions on Tuesday's ballots in Kane County.

Fox River fire district officials estimate the proposed tax increase would cost an additional $56 a year per $100,000 of market value for a single-family house. The question asks voters to allow the tax rate limit to be increased 63 percent. The current rate is 26.7 cents per $100 of equalized assessed valuation. The new limit would be about 43.5 cents.

If the district is able to tax at that higher rate, Chief John Nixon estimates it would generate an extra $1.1 million a year.

"Our message remains the same," he said in a January interview. "We have equipment that's failing, radios becoming a safety issue, vehicles that are costing extra money to maintain because they're in many cases reaching the end of life, and staffing shortfalls that have created uncomfortable situations for us where we have to run short."

Tax-rate increases failed in 2006, 2009, 2015, 2017 and 2018.

Huntley Library officials, meanwhile, estimate that if their borrowing plan is approved, taxpayers will pay about $24.84 more a year for every $100,000 in market value of their property. The tax bill on that $100,000 property would rise to $106.

The current building was constructed in 1999. It has been conducting library programs in three trailers for the past eight years, and its children's area has room for 12 people at a time, library officials have said.

The Huntley question is also on the McHenry County ballot.

Barrington Unit District 220 voters will decide whether the school board should borrow $185 million for security upgrades and other improvements at all District 220 schools.

The plan also calls for a new fine arts center at Barrington High School and a library renovation, among other projects.

If approved, the owner of a house valued at $500,000 would pay about $97 more in property taxes to the district the first year.

At a recent public forum about the plan, some audience members asked if the district should have instead sought money for a third middle school. People also questioned the salaries of high-level administrators.

The Barrington 220 question is also on the McHenry, Cook and Lake County ballots.

The villages of Elburn and South Elgin are asking permission to increase the local sales tax on general merchandise sold in those villages. In both towns, that would bring the total sales tax rate to 8 percent.

South Elgin officials say they intend to use the money for infrastructure work, particularly road maintenance, repair and replacement.

Elburn's question says it would be used for operations, infrastructure and property tax relief. It is the second time Elburn has asked to increase the sales tax rate.

If approved, the tax changes could start by July 1.

Advisory votes

In three cases, voters are being asked for advice, in nonbinding referendums:

• Should Campton Hills allow video gambling;

• Should the West Branch of the Aurora Public Library stay at its current location; and

• Should the Rutland-Dundee Townships Fire Protection District "proceed with efforts" to consolidate fire and emergency medical services with the West Dundee Fire Department, the East Dundee and Countryside Fire Protection District, and the Carpentersville Fire Department?

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