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Local News

Most referendums rejected by voters in Will County

Voters reject tax rate increases

Voters rejected several referendums for property tax rate increases from the Joliet Park District, the White Oak Library District and the Troy Fire Protection District. 

The Joliet Park District referendum that sought a 58 percent increase in the property tax rate was rejected by 5,748 voters. Only 2,356 people voted for the referendum. 

Joliet park officials said the tax rate increase was necessary because the amount of property taxes the district receives lags behind other park districts and is not enough to keep up with aging park facilities. 

Tom Carstens, the park district’s executive director, said the outcome was disappointing. 

“It’s disappointing that the outcome wasn’t a positive outcome for the park district. The park district at this time is in a critical financial situation,” Carstens said. 

He said the results of Tuesday’s election will mean park officials will have to make “difficult decisions” as far as the operation of the park district. He said the park district’s budget will be reviewed and evaluated, as well as the results of the referendum.

“We’re going to continue to do our job and do it well,” Carstens said. “We want to do our best as far as the services offered to the public and to our residents but we do have the understanding now without passage of the referendum, we will have to make some tough decisions.” 

The Troy Fire Protection District’s proposal for a new property tax to pay for firefighter pensions in the Troy Township district was also rejected by voters.

Out of 3,214 voters, only 1,339 voted for it while 1,875 voted against the proposal. 

The White Oak Library District went to voters for a sixth time seeking a property tax rate increase. However, 2,907 voters rejected the referendum while 2,773 voters were in support of it. 

The majority of voters in Will and Kendall counties supported the Minooka School District 201 referendum to build an intermediate school for fifth through eighth grades. However, after accounting for unofficial votes from Grundy County, the referendum appeared to fail.

Minooka school officials said that they need a new school to keep up with the growing number of families in the district. Fifth- and sixth-grade classes have grown by more than 100 students each since the 2011-12 school year, school officials said. 

The referendum has been scaled down since a March 2018 proposal for $90 million to build two schools.

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