Kane County's hot races: Sheriff, home rule, more
Here's a look at the some of the most heated races and significant referendums on the Nov. 6 ballot in Kane County.
Republican Sheriff Don Kramer hopes to land a second, 4-year term. He's running against Ron Hain, a sheriff's sergeant who hopes to become the second Democrat elected to the post.
Kramer's term got off to a rocky start when he canceled a $2.5 million contract for federal inmates to be housed at the Kane County jail, but he says he has improved professionalism at the department. He chided Hain for "violating people's rights" in several vehicle searches that were deemed illegal by judges.
Hain said he's never been disciplined or demoted, and criticized Kramer for his response in May 2017 when an inmate took nurses hostage at Delnor Hospital in Geneva.
Hain said the department is using antiquated patrol configurations. He vowed to allocate resources and officers more efficiently, and launch programs to help addicts rejoin the workforce.
Batavia home rule
A referendum question will ask residents if the city should revoke its home-rule powers.
Opponents of home rule don't like that it gives the city the ability to increase property taxes at rates higher than allowed under the state's property tax cap law. Home rule also allows the city to borrow money and institute sales taxes on alcohol and gasoline without voter approval.
Proponents said those taxes avoided further increases to property taxes. They also cited the crime-free housing law Batavia was able to adopt as a benefit of home rule.
• Fox River & Countryside Fire/Rescue District residents will vote on a property tax hike that would raise the tax rate from 27 cents to 43 cents per $100 of equalized assessed value. The owner of a $100,000 home would pay an additional $53 annually. If approved, the measure would bring in an additional $1 million or more to replace aging equipment and increase staffing. Fire officials said that without it, there would be additional personnel cuts and the district likely would have to "brown out" one of its two stations on a rotating basis.
• The Hampshire Fire Protection District is asking voters permission to levy a 0.1 percent tax to create an emergency and rescue fund. The new tax would bring in an extra $236,000 to help the district replace aging equipment and increase staffing levels. It would raise the tax bill by about $67 annually for the owner of a $200,000 home.
• The Pingree Grove & Countryside Fire District is asking voters for the third time to approve borrowing $8.5 million to build two new fire stations. Two of the three current fire stations would be closed, with the new ones built on locations better suited for faster response times, officials said. The bond issue would yield an annual property tax increase of $89 for a house with a $300,000 market value.
49th House District
Voters will chose between two newcomers for the legislative seat. West Chicago Democrat Karina Villa and Aurora Republican Tonia Khouri.
Villa, a school social worker and vice president of the West Chicago Elementary District 33 school board, supports increasing state funding for education and providing property tax relief for middle-income families and seniors on fixed budgets.
Khouri, a DuPage County Board member and business owner, said her top concerns are lowering property taxes to stop Illinoisans from leaving the state, tackling pension reform and streamlining government.
• Daily Herald staff writers Harry Hitzeman, Lauren Rohr and Madhu Krishnamurthy contributed to this report.