Not much controversy when it comes to Lake County's ballot questions

  • A $50 million proposal calls for building improvements at Palombi Middle School and the other Lake Villa District 41 campuses.

      A $50 million proposal calls for building improvements at Palombi Middle School and the other Lake Villa District 41 campuses. Lee Filas | Staff Photographer, 2016

  • Barrington Unit School District 220 voters will decide of the school board should borrow $185 million for facility improvements.

    Barrington Unit School District 220 voters will decide of the school board should borrow $185 million for facility improvements. Daily Herald File Photo, 2018

 
 
Updated 3/30/2019 7:30 PM

Referendum questions on ballots in a handful of Lake County communities will be decided Tuesday by voters.

Of the seven referendums appearing on ballots in Lake County this election cycle, three involve requests to borrow money to fund capital projects at two school districts.

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Lake Villa Elementary District 41 and Barrington Unit District 220 want to raise cash for various facility improvements, including building security.

Here are the details of the ballot issues in Lake County.

Lake Villa schools

One question before District 41 voters asks if the school board should borrow $34.2 million to boost security, renovate classrooms and tackle other projects. The other asks if the board should raise an additional $790,000 annually for maintenance costs.

Together, the proposals would provide $50 million in funding over 20 years, according to a fact sheet at district41.org/referendum-2019/.

If the measures are approved, the owner of a house valued at $250,000 would pay about $212 less in property taxes to the district the first year, compared to the current tax bill. That's because existing loans that funded the construction of Martin and Thompson elementary schools are scheduled to be paid off this year.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

If voters reject both plans, taxes will drop even more.

The leader of a volunteer group promoting the referendum said the plan will help fix the schools while still providing tax relief.

Foes have said the package is too costly and sets aside too much money for improvements at Pleviak Elementary School, which is owned by District 41 but has been leased to Round Lake Area Unit District 116 since 2014.

Barrington schools

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 there, 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.

Round Lake Heights

Round Lake Heights officials have proposed borrowing $2.7 million to develop a village water system. Voters rejected an identical plan in November.

The village has been buying water from neighboring Round Lake Beach for years. Proponents say having a local water system will allow village officials to control water rates and ensure more consistent water flow with fewer interruptions.

"This way, we'll be totally independent," Mayor Terrance Lumpkins told the Daily Herald.

If voters agree, the owner of a house valued at $200,000 would pay about $388 more in property taxes the first year.

Newport Fire District

Officials with the Wadsworth-based Newport Township Fire Protection District have proposed borrowing $3.5 million to purchase emergency vehicles, improve and equip the district's two stations and pay down debt.

If approved, the owner of a house valued at $200,000 would pay about $74 more in property taxes to the district the first year.

If voters reject the plan, layoffs and service cuts will be necessary, officials said.

Other questions

Bannockburn residents will decide if the village should create a real estate transfer tax that would be used to fund infrastructure improvements and public safety.

And in Zion, voters will decide if the city should charge a 1-percent municipal sales tax.

• Daily Herald staff writers Mick Zawislak and Bob Susnjara contributed to this report.

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