Referendums Give Voters Opportunity to Shape Tax Bills

Article excerpt

Byline: Catherine Edman Daily Herald Staff Writer

Whether West Chicago High School expands or the Winfield Fire Protection District saves enough money for a new truck depends on results of today's elections.

Referendums across the county ask residents to approve property tax increases that address a variety of needs.

Two school-related increases are proposed - for West Chicago High School District 94 and West Chicago Elementary District 33.

Meanwhile, the Glen Ellyn Park District is looking to build a new athletic center, and Milton Township wants to know if voters support creating a mosquito abatement district. Winfield fire district officials say they need money for several major purchases, including a new fire pumper.

* The West Chicago High School request is for $32 million to build an addition, replace the school's heating and ventilation system, move the football stadium, and build a community auditorium. A similar question was defeated last spring.

Enrollment in the district has risen steadily in recent years, and growth in the elementary grades will continue to expand the high school in the near future, officials said.

Student enrollment is expected to exceed the building's capacity by the 1999-2000 school year. If approved, the District 94 increase would mean an additional $150 in taxes for the owner of a $150,000 home.

* A referendum presented by District 33 seeks a tax increase that would raise about $1.9 million annually to avoid cuts in educational programs and teacher layoffs, officials said. Like in District 94, growing enrollment is stretching resources in the elementary district.

If approved, the District 33 proposal would cost the owner of a $150,000 home an additional $230 in taxes yearly.

* In Glen Ellyn, voters will be asked their opinion on a proposed partnership between the Glen Ellyn Park District, Central DuPage Health System and the Wheaton Sport Center.

The organizations would be partners in a $13.5 million fitness/wellness center that would be built on the southeast corner of Route 53 and Roosevelt Road.

The first of the advisory referendum questions asks voters if the district should get involved in a money-making facility to lessen its reliance on tax dollars. …