Blackberry Township asking voters, again for more money for road work

  • Rodney Feece, Blackberry Township highway commissioner, stands just east of North Mill Creek Drive and Alexander Drive in the Mill Creek subdivision, after voters in April 2015 refused to increase property taxes for road maintenance and replacement. That stretch of road has since been repaved, but other township roads, including some in that subdivision, have not. Feece says the township road district doesn't have enough money.

    Rodney Feece, Blackberry Township highway commissioner, stands just east of North Mill Creek Drive and Alexander Drive in the Mill Creek subdivision, after voters in April 2015 refused to increase property taxes for road maintenance and replacement. That stretch of road has since been repaved, but other township roads, including some in that subdivision, have not. Feece says the township road district doesn't have enough money. Brian Hill | Staff Photographer, April 2015

 
 
Updated 9/6/2018 6:49 PM

For the fifth time this century, the Blackberry Township Road District is asking voters for more money.

But this time, it is not asking for as much.

 

In a Nov. 6 referendum question, voters will decide whether to increase the limiting rate on property taxes by 8 cents per $100 EAV. That equates to almost a 50 percent increase.

It would give Highway Commissioner Rodney Feece another $452,000 a year to work with.

Township officials calculate that it would cost the owner of a $300,000 house about $80 more a year.

The township maintains about 60 centerline miles of roads.

Feece says he can afford to repave only about 1½ miles of them a year. The rest just get patches.

A 2015 analysis from Engineering Enterprises Inc. of Sugar Grove said 33 percent of the roadways were in "poor" condition and 31 percent were "fair."

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Many of the poorest roads are in the Mill Creek subdivision, built beginning in the mid-1990s.

"They are just continuing to get worse," Feece said.

Voters rejected larger increases in April 2015, April 2013, November 2006 and March 2004.

The road district will receive about $1.007 million in property tax this year. But it has to turn roughly $168,000 of that over to the villages of Elburn and North Aurora, for streets in those villages that are located in Blackberry Township.

The road district also receives about $78,000 a year in motor fuel taxes.

Besides repairing and repaving roads, the road district plows snow, mows roadsides and trims trees on township rights of way.

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