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Local News

Bad night for most other referendums, but Mokena passes

NEW LENOX – Three out of four referendums in New Lenox, Mokena, Wilton Township and Braidwood failed to pass Tuesday. 

Park officials in New Lenox and Mokena had sought support for more capital project funding but only Mokena’s referendum passed, and that was by only 1 percent of the vote.

Wilton Township’s referendum for road improvements failed with 55 percent of voters against it. About 82 percent of voters were against Braidwood city’s referendum to raise taxes for police pensions. 

Park officials with the New Lenox Community Park District asked residents to maintain the tax rate, which had previously been raised to help pay for the Sanctuary Golf Course and was set to end in 2015. However, park officials wanted to keep the rate to pay for capital and neighborhood projects. 

The referendum was up for a vote during the March elections but failed. That happened again Tuesday.

Greg Lewis, New Lenox park district executive director, said a needs assessment survey showed residents wanted park improvements but Tuesday’s results showed otherwise. Now, capital improvement projects will proceed at a slower pace, he said. 

“It’s conflicting information, but all we can do is live within our means and that’s how we will go on,” Lewis said. 

The Mokena Community Park District asked voters to issue $6 million in “property tax neutral” bonds needed to finance the Oaks Recreation and Fitness Center project, along with making improvements to Yunker Farm Park.

Park officials said the bond issue would not increase taxes for residents. They said in the past five years the need for space and programs at Oaks Recreation and Fitness Center has increased. They also want to explore greater use of the Yunker Farm Park site.

In Braidwood, voters were asked if they wanted to increase taxes to for a police pension fund, which would take the cost of pensions out of the city’s general fund.

City officials have said the referendum would be an increase of about $9 a month for resident’s property tax bills. 

Wilton Township issued a referendum to increase the tax rate from .4618 percent to .66 percent to pay for road improvements.

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