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News Coverage of Kane Open Space Referendum

Elgin Courier-News
April 4, 2017

Voters support Kane Forest Preserve District $50 million referendum

Gloria Casas

Voters support the Forest Preserve District of Kane County investing in open space and improvements to its existing land, passing a $50 million referendum on Tuesday's ballot, according to unofficial election results.

Unofficial results in Kane County showed the referendum had 52 percent yes votes and 44 percent no votes with 228 out of 228 precincts reporting, according to the Kane County Clerk's website. The City of Aurora Election Commission's unofficial totals showed the measure had 53 percent yes votes and 46 percent no votes with 63 of 63 precincts reporting. The figures did not count early voting, Aurora Election Commission officials said.

Kane County officials reported turnout in the 228 precincts was 15.67 percent for Tuesday's election.

The District's board of Commissioners put the referendum on the ballot to allow voters to decide whether to authorize issuance of $50 million general obligation bonds for land acquisition, restoration and improvements of existing properties. It will not be used for operating costs, officials said.

District officials were able to save in bond payoffs and refinancing bonds so this year's referendum would allow it to issue a new set of bonds while providing a tax decrease. The owner of a $250,000 home would get a tax reduction of $82 from the District's portion of taxes, officials said. If the referendum had failed, the tax reduction would have been $104, officials said.

It is the fifth referendum since 1999, officials said. The monies from those referendums allowed the District to expand its holdings to about 20,800 acres of land.

Kane County Chairman Chris Lauzen took a public stand against the referendum because "our property taxes are just too high," he said recently.
Former District Chairman John Hoscheit has said the District will continue to build up its holdings as long as voters support its plans and any referendum.