Referendum questions will dot DuPage County ballots

 
 
Updated 1/20/2012 4:27 PM
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Twenty-two referendum questions will be on primary election ballots this March in DuPage County, but nearly all will ask voters about the delivery of their electrical service.

Those questions will determine if people want shared electric service from a vendor other than ComEd as part of a package deal through their village or city.

Other referendum questions will ask if Itasca and Clarendon Hills should become home rule units, if Glenbard West High School should get permanent field lighting, whether the West Chicago Park District should issue $19.5 million in bonds for a new community center, and if Winfield should be divided into six voting districts.

Voters in Addison, Aurora, Bartlett, Bolingbrook, Darien, Downers Grove, Elmhurst, Hanover Park, Hinsdale, Lemont, Lisle, Lombard, Villa Park, Warrenville, Westmont and Woodridge will be asked about electric service.

Each question asks if the municipality should be allowed to arrange for the supply of electricity for residential and small commercial retail customers who have not opted out of such a program.

Many municipal officials believe combining electric accounts and seeking service from suppliers other than ComEd could save money for their residents.

Itasca is seeking home rule status to be able to collect roughly $900,000 in annual hotel tax revenue to offset its slumping sales tax revenue, which has dropped from about $7.2 million to $4.4 million annually.

"Home rule would give us a little more flexibility with our finances and allow us to continue to offer the services we do," Village President Jeff Pruyn said.

The advisory question in Glen Ellyn will ask residents if Glenbard West should be allowed to install and operate four 70-foot and two 60-foot light poles at Memorial Field. The village board is expected to vote on the issue at its Jan. 30 meeting.

School administrators have said adding the lights would increase use of the field for extracurricular activities. But some residents have argued the lights would alter the character of their neighborhood and create safety problems.

"(The referendum) is really just to let the people voice their opinion," said Adrianne Gregory, a member of Our Field, Our Town, which put the question on the ballot.

In Winfield, voters will be asked if they want to switch from an at-large representation to a six-district system.

First-term Trustee Tim Allen led the charge to change to a district system saying he believes the move would ensure more fair representation throughout the city and less contentious local elections.

West Chicago voters will decide whether the park district will be allowed to design and build five outdoor athletic fields and a new indoor recreation center at the corner of Washington and Fremont streets.

Early voting begins Feb. 27 for the March 20 election.

• Daily Herald staff writers Elisabeth Mistretta and Christopher Placek contributed to this report.

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