17 referendum questions on the November ballot in DuPage
DuPage County voters will decide the fate of 17 referendum questions in the November election, making their voices heard on an array of issues for schools and fire districts.
Here's a look at the local questions on the ballot:
Facing mounting financial pressures, the Bensenville Fire Protection District is asking voters for $1.15 million in additional property taxes.
In May, Addison and Bensenville started sharing a fire chief. To further save costs, the district has reduced daily manpower from 11 to eight firefighter-paramedics, sold fire equipment, moved office staff to part-time and frozen salaries for all personnel.
As Bensenville lost land to the O'Hare International Airport expansion, the shrinking tax base put a financial strain on the district. What's more, the district has no money saved for capital expenditures, Chief Scott Walker said.
"Both the stations are in really, really bad shape," he said.
The north side station has the only fire truck in town and no ambulance. The south side station has two ambulances.
The additional tax revenue would help restore manpower and the second fire engine. The funds also would enable the district to start building up its reserves to address station repairs and an aging vehicle fleet.
If the tax increase is approved, the owner of a $200,000 house would pay about $126 more a year in property taxes to the district.
Itasca Dist. 10
Voters in Itasca Elementary District 10 will weigh in on the largest funding request on the ballot: a $26.98 million borrowing plan for construction projects.
The district is proposing to issue bonds and pay back the debt with a property tax increase.
The list of projects includes building more secure school entrances and making mechanical, electrical and plumping improvements. An addition at Raymond Benson Primary would accommodate future enrollment increases and give the district the option of expanding a prekindergarten program.
Other projects would construct new science labs and create outdoor classrooms in one of the few districts providing in-person instruction during the COVID-19 pandemic.
If the tax increase is approved, the owner of a $300,000 home -- the average in Itasca -- would pay about $324 in additional property taxes to the district annually.
Winfield Dist. 34
Winfield Elementary District 34 is seeking voter permission to borrow $4.7 million for projects to replace building infrastructure and bring security upgrades to its two schools.
At Winfield Central, the district is looking to replace a 20-year-old roof and a linoleum tile gym floor. New windows would be installed at Winfield Primary, which still uses an 1880s-era, one-room schoolhouse and additions built in the 1950s and '60s.
If voters approve the measure, the district would issue new bonds to replace expiring debt.
The school board also would abate $940,000 in property taxes that would otherwise be collected to pay off the current bond issue. The board made that pledge after meeting with Winfield Fire Protection District officials who are asking voters to approve a property tax increase.
The Winfield Fire Protection District is making another attempt at a tax increase request to hire more personnel and handle a rising number of emergency calls.
If approved, the proposal would generate roughly $2.2 million a year in extra revenue for the district that covers 13 square miles of Winfield, as well as unincorporated sections near West Chicago, Wheaton, Carol Stream and Warrenville.
Chief Steve Evans said crews respond to more than 2,000 calls a year.
Additional revenue would allow officials to operate a long-vacant station along Winfield Road near Roosevelt Road with three personnel for every shift, putting on-duty firefighters closer to residents and properties on the south end of the district. The district also would repair both stations and fix or replace some apparatus.
If the tax rate hike is approved, the owner of a $300,000 house, who pays $363 a year in property taxes to the district, would see that amount increase to $672.
As Bloomingdale Township Highway Commissioner Robert Czernek faces federal charges of pocketing more than $280,000 in kickbacks, voters will determine if they want the road district abolished and its duties taken over by the township.
Township officials have said they put the binding question on the ballot because the highway department is an independent unit of government with an elected highway commissioner who operates with little oversight from the township board.
• Voters in Carol Stream will decide whether to change the village clerk from an elected to an appointed position. If approved, the mayor, with the consent of trustees, would choose who fills the clerk's job.
• The West Chicago Park District is requesting to reduce the size of its board from seven to five commissioners. With voter approval, just one board seat would be up for election in 2021.
• Glen Ellyn is gauging public sentiment on whether to overturn or uphold a moratorium on recreational marijuana sales.
• Lombard wants input on the video gambling debate. Absent any further action by the village board, an ordinance permitting video gambling on a trial basis would automatically expire at the end of year.
• York Township is asking if the state should "increase the residential and senior homeowner exemptions to help reduce property taxes."
• The DuPage County Board has placed three advisory questions on the ballot: Whether law enforcement and public safety should continue to be the county's top budgeting priority; whether the county should obtain a stockpile of COVID-19 protective gear for agencies that may need them; and whether the county should fund and support training that reduces the risk of injury to law enforcement and suspects.