A wide array of ballot questions awaits Will County voters
BY TINA AKOURIS firstname.lastname@example.org November 2, 2012 7:02PM
100609/Manhattan, Illinois The Manhattan Public Library in Manhattan, Illinois is celebrating its 100th anniversary this weekend. av100609 TIN_libman_P1/neighborstar folder Photo By: Art Vassy/Southtownstar
Updated: December 5, 2012 6:05AM
Voters in Will County on Tuesday will see several ballot questions, but perhaps the most significant has to do with electrical aggregation.
Voters in the city of Lockport, Manhattan Township and New Lenox Township will vote on the question of whether to give their local government the authority to arrange for their supply of electricity.
Voters in Bolingbrook, Channahon, Coal City, Homer Glen, Lemont, Peotone, Plainfield, Romeoville and Shorewood have already approved becoming a part of the Will County Governmental League electrical aggregation program.
With electrical aggregation, ComEd will still deliver electricity to customers and send out bills, and will be responsible for fixing any outage. The only thing that changes with aggregation is who supplies the power.
“The way it is now, people can sign up with a vendor and get (power) from a third party and there is a cost for that,” said Tim Schloneger, Lockport city administrator. “But through this referendum, we can take everyone to the marketplace at once and the cost is cheaper. I don’t see a downside to this.”
Lockport finance director Erik Brown said voters rejected electrical aggregation before, making Lockport one of the few communities that didn’t pass it.
Now, Brown said, the referendum is allowing Lockport residents to opt into the Will County Governmental League program. Brown said the other communities who have aggregation see a 30-40 percent reduction in electrical costs.
Also on the ballot Tuesday:
◆ The Manhattan-Elwood Public Library District is asking for $3.5 million in library bonds to buy, remodel and furnish the HomeStar Bank Building in the Manhattan Station strip mall at Gougar and Sweedler Roads. The building is approximately 13,000 square feet. The current library is on Whitson Street, off South State Street.
In March, the library put a question to the voters asking if they would be receptive to a November referendum concerning a new library and 43.44 percent said yes.
The library estimates that if the measure is approved, homeowners would pay $39.15 more in property taxes per year on a $200,000 home; $60.66 on a $300,000 home; $71.42 on a $350,000 home and $82.17 on a $400,000 home.
On its website the library says the new building would include more parking, quiet adult reading rooms, twice as much space, , more seating, a community room, Internet stations and sidewalks, and it would be within walking distance to Wilson Creek Elementary to name a few.
The website says the library does not anticipate operating expenses to increase with the new building.
◆ In Wilton Township, Township Supervisor Gynith Borden said voters in March approved a property tax increase to pay for the renovation of the township’s community building. But the township’s board had never voted prior to the March election to put the measure on the ballot, a step required for any referendum to be considered by voters.
The township board then voted on Aug. 14 to put the measure on the November ballot, Borden said. Results of the March election don’t count, she said.
“We omitted a step in the process,” Borden said. Voters “need to know we passed this once. It’s not an additional (referendum), but the one we passed in March.”
Borden said the township is asking for a tax increase for 2012 to 2015. On a $100,000 property, the increase would be $23.73 per year, Borden said.
“The building is less than 100 years old, but older than 50,” Borden said. “We need a new roof, tuckpointing, new windows, bathrooms that are handicap accessible; those are the main things.”
◆ Voters in Coal City will be asked if they want video gambling in bars and restaurants where alcohol is served. State lawmakers legalized video gambling in 2009, but it is up to local municipalities if they want it in their towns.