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Referendums facing voters at April 9 election

Published: Thursday, April 4, 2013 12:10 p.m. CDT • Updated: Thursday, April 11, 2013 1:28 p.m. CDT
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Election judge Linda Walters checks two voters in for early voting Tuesday morning while Ogle County Clerk Rebecca Huntley answers election questions on the phone. Photo by Chris Johnson
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John Klinger, Oregon, places his ballot in the box to complete his early voting Tuesday morning. Photo by Chris Johnson

Ogle County voters will decide numerous referendums from sales tax to concealed carry April 9 when they go to the polls.

A total of 13 questions are before voters across the county.

Voters will also choose officials for cities and villages, townships, school districts, community college districts, regional school boards, park districts, library districts, and fire districts.

The referendums include a county-wide referendum asking voters in unincorporated areas if they favor electrical aggregation.

The measure asks voters if they if they want to pool their purchasing power and have the county board negotiate a better electrical rate.

A referendum will be on the ballot for municipal electrical aggregation for county residents who live outside municipalities. The same referendum was rejected by voters last March.

Since then, however, several townships and a village have approved referendums for electrical aggregation, joining other communities that already have the measure in place.

Municipal electrical aggregation gives municipalities, townships, or counties the authority to negotiate for the purchase of the combined electric supply of its residents and eligible small businesses. 

Six townships — Oregon-Nachusa, Lincoln, Lafayette, Grand Detour, Byron, and Woosung — will also have a referendum for aggregation on the ballot on April 9.  

According to the state statute, if the county passes the referendum they will be the only one moving forward with a program for all unincorporated residents to participate in.  

If the county referendum fails, and a township passes, that township can then proceed with a program.

Voters in these townships will see both the county and their township referendums on the ballot.

Voters in Eagle Point, Flagg, Forreston, Leaf River, Maryland, Mt. Morris, Pine Creek, Pine Rock, and Rockvale Townships approved electrical aggregation last November.

Tthese townships' programs will not be affected by the Ogle County referendum, and residents there will continue with their current lower rates, according to Mike Mudge of Rock River Energy Services.

They will, however, have the option of joining the county's plan should it prove cheaper than the township plan they are already part of, Mudge said.

Voters in Oregon, Mt. Morris, Polo, and Forreston approved the measure in 2011, and Leaf River voters gave it the nod last November.

Anyone who does not wish to participate in the program can opt out of the process and stay with current supplier ComEd or choose another supplier.

Voters will be asked to approve a one percent county-wide sales tax to benefit schools.

The revenue from the tax, if it’s approved, can be used only for school facilities.

A third county-wide referendum will ask voters if they favor the carrying of concealed firearms in Illinois, the only state in the nation that doesn't allow it.

Two other referendums will seek real estate tax increases.

The Oregon Library District is asking voters to approve two referendums, one for the money to build a new library building and the other for an increase of six cents per $100 equalized assessed valuation (EAV) to maintain it.

The final ballot question is a a tax hike of $1.07 per $100 EAV in Education Fund in the Stillman Valley School District.

The school board is asking for the increase to put the district back in black ink from a $1.9 million deficit.

If approved, taxes on a $100,000 home will increase $356 per year excluding exemptions.

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