School projects, street repairs on Lake County primary ballot
School building projects, fire station upgrades and a new sales tax will be among the requests put to Lake County voters March 17.
Here's a recap of referendums on the primary ballot:
Fox Lake Elementary District 114
The district is asking the tax rate be set to generate about $1.3 million each year, mainly for roof replacements and other needed work at its two schools.
"There are no huge bells-and-whistles improvements happening," Superintendent Heather Friziellie said. "This is just bricks-and-mortar stuff that has to get done."
Because the debt to build Lotus School will be paid off, extra money would be "repurposed" for other things, according to Friziellie. Some of the money would be set aside for salaries, as the District 114 teachers are among the lowest-paid in Lake County.
If voters approve the measure, taxes would stay roughly the same -- about $394 for the owner of a house valued at $200,000 -- Friziellie said. But bills would drop if voters reject the request.
First Fire Protection District of Antioch Township headquarters at 835 Holbek Drive in Antioch
- Daily Herald file, 2016
Antioch Twp. fire district
The fire district, which covers about 35 square miles including the village of Antioch and unincorporated areas, is asking for a tax increase to generate about $1.57 million per year for personnel and building repairs.
Service calls have increased 10% to 3,450 in two years, and the goal of making contact with 90% of callers within six minutes is becoming a struggle, said Chief Jon Cokefair. Calls are expected to rise because of growth to the east of Antioch, he said.
The fire district also has $8.5 million invested in three aging fire stations in need of various repairs and improvements, including roofs, parking lots, windows, doors and lighting.
About $800,000 of the requested annual amount would go to staffing. The district does not pay pensions, Cokefair emphasized, and the 12 positions manning the three stations 24 hours are contracted or part-time employees.
If approved, owners of a house valued at $200,000 would pay about $163 in annual taxes. Visit www.antiochfire.org/ for more information.
Village officials intended last April to ask for a tax increase to fund a comprehensive road repair program, but a glitch kept it off the ballot.
Since then, the amount of the annual road program has been reduced from $1.2 million to $950,000. Officials are seeking a tax increase to raise $975,000 per year, which would amount to about $206 for the owner of a $300,000 house.
This annual increase would provide funding over time for a comprehensive $25.5 million streets program, according to Pam Newton, the village's chief operating officer. By not borrowing the money, the village would save millions in interest payments, she added.
If voters approve the tax increase, the village plans to eliminate vehicle sticker fees.
Voters in Libertyville will be asked to approve a 1% nonhome-rule sales tax to raise $2 million in new annual revenue to fund infrastructure projects, including road repairs.
The tax is equivalent to a penny-per-dollar on general merchandise but would not apply to medicines, titled goods such as cars and trailers, and most groceries.
Village officials have said a 1% sales tax on restaurants would be repealed if the non-home rule sales tax were approved.
According to the village, the money is needed to offset a nearly $2.5 million annual shortfall for road repairs, sidewalks, streetlights, parking lots, parks, facilities, and technology. Some of the money also could be used as initial funding for stormwater projects.
"We're not just raising taxes to raise money; there's a specific need for it," said Mayor Terry Weppler.
Detailed information is posted at libertyville.com, and town-hall meetings on the request are scheduled for Jan. 30 and March 4.
District 41 bond issue
Voters in Lake Villa Elementary District 41 will be asked to authorize borrowing $30.7 million to fund building projects at four schools.
The request has changed significantly since a sound defeat last April. The scope of projects and the requested amount has been reduced. Nearly two dozen public meetings have been held to solicit input, discuss building and maintenance needs and make revisions.
A major difference from last April is $4.4 million in proposed work at Joseph J. Pleviak Elementary School, which the district owns but doesn't use, was dropped from the plan.
The questions last April faced organized opposition from a group called District 41. Safer. Better. More Sustainable, but that group has said it is not opposing the revised request to issue bonds.
District 220 projects
The district is seeking authority to issue $147 million in school building bonds for a variety of projects to include paying for basic improvements at all schools in areas such as safety and security, plumbing, electrical, roofing and heating, ventilation and air conditioning.
Voters last April rejected a request to borrow $185 million for facility upgrades.
Due to existing debt the district expects to pay off in 2021, approval of the ballot measure would have the owner of a $500,000 home still see a net decrease of about $75 a year compared with the 2019 tax bill. Without the referendum, the same homeowner would see a reduction of $468.In other questions, voters in Beach Park District 3 will be asked to authorize the school board to borrow $23 million by issuing bonds for projects at five schools.
And voters in Wheeling will be asked whether the village clerk should be appointed rather than elected.