Cook, Lake voters to decide key questions
Besides electing candidates to public office, voters in Lake and Cook counties on Tuesday will determine whether to support or shrink some government services.
Ballot measures seeking voter approval to eliminate the Lake County Recorder of Deeds office and road districts in Ela and Elk Grove townships in the name of economic efficiency will be decided.
Voters also will be asked to authorize $9.6 million in borrowing for an addition and other work at the Antioch Public Library District and increasing Lake Zurich's local sales tax by 0.5%.
And, although advisory only, voters in Elk Grove Village, Mount Prospect and Park Ridge will be asked whether the sale of recreational marijuana should be allowed in those communities.
After years of periodic discussion, the Lake County Board decided to ask voters whether the recorder of deeds office should be eliminated and consolidate its duties with the county clerk's office. Besides saving an annual salary of $127,874 and benefits, the move is expected to streamline other processes.
The question is unusual in that it was suggested and is endorsed by both longtime recorder Mary Ellen Vanderventer, who is seeking a seventh term, and her Republican opponent in the Nov. 3 election, Emilia Czyszczon.
The recorder's office is not mandatory under state law and other counties, including Cook and McHenry, have gone this route. If approved, the office will be eliminated Dec. 1, 2022.
Vanderventer said the move would be seamless and the goal is that constituents wouldn't know anything had changed.
In Antioch, the library district is seeking authorization to borrow $9.6 million by issuing bonds to expand and remodel the library at 757 N. Main St. (Route 83). It is the first such referendum since the facility was built in 1970.
Bond sales would fund expansions for children and teen spaces. Other planned improvements include dedicated studio space for crafting, technology and hands-on learning, more study rooms, an area supporting small and home-based businesses and an enlarged public meeting room.
Library officials say replacing the roof, HVAC systems and other work to the existing facility would represent about $1.6 million of the overall project cost.
Several in-person and virtual meetings have been held with schools, senior, homeowner and business groups. The project would increase the annual tax bill of a house valued at $200,000 by about $50.
Lake Zurich voters are being asked to authorize a 0.5% increase in the local sales to 1%. If approved, the full 1% sales tax would not go into effect until July 1.
The sales tax increase is expected to raise an additional $1.5 million to $2 million per year. Proceeds would be used as a revenue source for $15.9 million in renovations and improvements to the fire-damaged Paulus Park Barn and 38-year old Fire Station No. 1.
Village officials say the added tax would be a mechanism for needed upgrades without a property tax increase and with half the revenue coming from nonresidents.
The village describes the request as a community-driven plan that would keep firefighters, paramedics, families and neighborhoods safe and provide space for summer day camps, child care and other programs.
Shrinking government by eliminating road districts -- and with them the elected positions of highway commissioner -- is the question facing voters in Ela and Elk Grove townships.
Road district tax levies would be dropped and the salary and benefits of that position would be eliminated. Duties and responsibilities would be absorbed by the respective townships.
And, voters in Elk Grove Village, Mount Prospect and Park Ridge will be asked through nonbinding referendums whether to permit the sale of recreational marijuana within the regulations established by the state.
Elk Grove Mayor Craig Johnson said the village wants to know whether residents feel allowing marijuana sales is contradictory to the mission of the Elk Grove Village Cares substance addition program.
Mount Prospect has a medical marijuana dispensary that could consider the possibility of expanding to recreational marijuana sales.
All three have been among the municipalities that chose to ban recreational marijuana dispensaries since the start of 2020.