Tax increase, advisory questions on ballots in several Lake County towns
Besides a lengthy list of national, state and local candidates, voters in seven Lake County communities will decide several binding and advisory referendum questions in November.
Local ballot issues include requested tax hikes to pay for roads and unfunded pensions, while advisory questions intended to make a statement against high taxes will be decided in Wauconda and Fox River Grove.
An eighth question, regarding the transportation lockbox that would prohibit legislators from raiding funds such as the motor fuel tax in the future, will appear on ballots statewide.
In Antioch, residents will be asked whether the village should join the First Fire Protection District of Antioch Township and assume a proportionate share of debt, if any. If approved, village taxpayers would see a new line item on property tax bills for fire service. That amount is unknown at this time.
The district and village split operating costs for fire protection and ambulance service. Approval would result in a single entity to oversee fire and ambulance-related issues in the village and township.
"We're actually two separate entities. We work together through an intergovernmental agreement," said Matt Tabar, a trustee with the First Fire Protection District, the taxing authority for the fire department.
"It will allow us to be more efficient in our services and delivery," he said. Antioch's contribution is through general funds, which include property tax revenue.
Since a request for a large-scale borrowing plan to repair or rebuild 24 miles of roads in Green Oaks was soundly rejected in March, village officials are back with a much leaner plan.
However, the request intended to raise about $235,000 each year would result in the more than 50-year-old village's first municipal property tax. Owners of a house with a market value of $300,000 would pay about $93 a year.
"This is just to provide a steady stream of income to the village that will facilitate our road repairs," Trustee Bryan Muskat said.
"We have done the best we can with the limited funds available. At some point, the costs outrun the revenue stream."
In Round Lake Park, voters will be asked if the village should borrow $5.4 million via a bond issue to provide funds for police pensions.
An advisory question involving roadwork will be on the ballot in Barrington. Voters there will be asked whether the village should spend public funds to build an underpass beneath the railroad track on Northwest Highway east of Route 59 and/or reroute Lake Zurich Road through Citizens Park and the Barrington Area Library property.
Voters in Fox River Grove and Wauconda will be asked whether each taxing body within all or part of the corporate limits should seek voter approval before increasing its annual property tax levy. Petitioners hope the advisory question, also posed in several communities in the spring primary, becomes a statement against high taxes.
"This is another tool to make their voice heard to their elected officials to be responsive to this key issue," said Andrew Nelms, deputy state director for American for Prosperity Illinois, which is backing the questions.
Finally, voters in Winthrop Harbor will be asked whether to change the village clerk from an elected to an appointed position.