DuPage ballots to include questions about pot, taxes

  • Naperville voters will head to the polls Tuesday to decide an advisory referendum on whether the city should allow the sale of marijuana for recreational use.

    Naperville voters will head to the polls Tuesday to decide an advisory referendum on whether the city should allow the sale of marijuana for recreational use. AP Photo/Brennan Linsley, 2016

 
 
Posted3/16/2020 5:30 AM

Voters in DuPage County on Tuesday will consider eight referendum questions dealing with a range of issues, including recreational marijuana sales and a school district's master facility plan.

Here's a look at the questions on the ballot:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

District 45

Villa Park Elementary District 45 is requesting voter approval to borrow $30 million to help pay for a master facility plan that includes building a new early childhood center.

If the property tax hike is approved, District 45 will construct an early childhood center, implement all-day kindergarten, upgrade technology, increase safety and security, improve STEM curriculum and provide more opportunities in music.

The district -- which serves students from Villa Park, Lombard, Oakbrook Terrace and Elmhurst -- estimates it would cost $17.3 million to build the early childhood center. In addition, an estimated $7.5 million would be spent on renovations and additions related to the implementation of all-day kindergarten at five of its six elementary schools.

Other proposed expenditures include roughly $2 million for safety and security upgrades at all schools; roughly $1.8 million to upgrade technology; and roughly $2 million to create science labs and new music rooms.

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The owner of a $240,000 home pays roughly $2,820 a year in property taxes to the district. If the ballot measure is approved, that amount would increase by roughly $170.

Naperville

Naperville voters could settle the debate on whether the city should allow recreational marijuana sales.

An advisory question was placed on the ballot by city council members, even though they moved to prohibit recreational pot stores in town. While the referendum question is nonbinding, council members have said they will trust the will of the voters.

If voters don't want recreational cannabis sales, no action will be needed. But if voters say they want pot stores, the council would need to reverse its ban and set zoning regulations.

Wood Dale fire

The Wood Dale Fire Protection District is seeking a property tax rate increase to maintain staffing levels, replace aging vehicles, repair its stations and pay for rising administrative costs.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

If voters approve the proposal, it will generate roughly $1.5 million a year in additional revenue for the district, which covers Wood Dale and a small part of Itasca.

Fire officials say the extra revenue would allow the district to have eight firefighters working during each of its three shifts. The district also would be able to replace aging vehicles and repair its two fire stations, officials say.

Finally, the extra revenue would help the district pay for rising administrative costs, including insurance and pension contributions.

The owner of a $250,000 home now pays roughly $700 in property taxes to the district. If the tax rate hike is approved, that amount will increase by an estimated $200.

Winfield fire

The Winfield Fire Protection District is asking voters to increase its property tax so it could hire more personnel to deal with a growing number of emergency calls.

If approved, the proposal would generate roughly $2.2 million a year in extra revenue for the district that includes nearly all of Winfield, as well as unincorporated sections near West Chicago, Wheaton, Carol Stream and Warrenville.

Fire officials said the district responds to more than 2,000 calls a year -- an increase of more than 33% since 2009. The increased call volume is threatening the district's ability to maintain its level of service, officials said.

Additional revenue would allow the district to hire more firefighters, replace aging vehicles and staff a fire station along Winfield Road, just north of Roosevelt Road.

If the tax rate hike is approved, the owner of a $318,000 house, who pays $360 a year in property taxes to the district, would see that amount increase to roughly $690.

Elsewhere

Other entities with questions on the ballot are Bloomingdale Township, Burr Ridge, Lemont and the Yorkfield Fire Protection District.

An advisory question will ask Bloomingdale Township voters if they're willing to pay higher property taxes to have a second sheriff's deputy assigned to patrol the township's unincorporated neighborhoods.

Yorkfield Fire, which is a "paper" district that collects taxes to pay for fire and ambulance services for parts of Elmhurst and some unincorporated areas, is seeking a tax increase to continue funding its contract with the Elmhurst Fire Department.

Burr Ridge is seeking permission from voters to become a home-rule community. Lemont is asking whether it should allow a recreational marijuana dispensary in town.

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