The Courier-News

Voters OK with pension reform

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

It’s not that hard to get 100 percent of the vote when there’s only one registered voter in Kane County. But the Bartlett Park District’s referendum also captured just enough votes in Cook and DuPage counties to give the district the A-OK to purchase Villa Olivia on the village’s northwest border.

That referendum passed with 52.6 percent of the vote in all three counties to allow the Bartlett Park District to borrow $18 million, partly to purchase Villa Olivia through a bond sale. It got 63.9 percent of the vote in Cook County and 47.1 percent in DuPage.

The referendum will raise park district residents’ property taxes by about $35 a year on a $250,000 home, the park district has estimated.

About $12 million of that bond money will be used to buy and improve the Villa Olivia property at West Lake Street (Route 20) and Naperville Road from the Corrado family, who has owned it since 1966. The rest of the money would go to renovate and expand the park district’s 18-year-old Bartlett Aquatic Center on Stearns Road.

And referendums to match police and firefighter pension benefit rules in Carpentersville, West Dundee, St. Charles and Wayne to reforms the state made in March to those for teachers and other government workers also passed.

Yes votes for the advisory referendum on pension reform were at 81.3 percent in Carpentersville and 79.3 percent in West Dundee, according to Kane County. St. Charles and Wayne span both Kane and DuPage counties; St. Charles took 78.5 percent of the total vote, and Wayne, 85 percent.

That vote will tell Illinois lawmakers whether they want those benefit rules to be the same as the state’s.

But a request for a 0.25 percent sales tax increase in Sleepy Hollow fell short, with only 44.2 percent of the vote Tuesday.

Village President Stephen Pickett had said the referendum for that increase came at a time of declining revenue in the village — and it would have resulted in an additional $4,000 to $6,000 a year in village revenue. It would up the retail sales tax from 7.5 cents per dollar spent for products at Sleepy Hollow’s eight to 10 businesses to 7.75 cents per dollar, Pickett added.

The village already has cut patrol shifts from its police department to balance its budget this year.