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Kane turns down referendum on new tax for disabled

Updated: February 14, 2013 6:44AM

Kane County residents will not be asked to vote on creating a new tax to help the developmentally disabled.

The County Board Executive Committee has voted against placing the referendum question, sought by the Aurora-based Association for Individual Development, on the April 9 ballot.

Board member Melisa Taylor — who did not take part in the committee’s 6-4 vote against the measure this week — said the mentally ill and those with substance abuse issues also should have been included in the tax proposal.

“What about the other two pieces?” she said.

Because of the way Illinois law is written, it gave the county the ability to pursue the referendum for the developmentally disabled, but not for the mentally ill or substance abusers.

The referendum would have placed a question on the ballot allowing voters to decide if they wanted to take on a new tax up to .1 percent of the equalized assessed value of a home, or about $52 a year for the owner of a $200,000 home.

Taylor, of Sugar Grove, said that she did not like that homeowners in certain townships would bear a larger portion of the tax because of higher property values. For instance, the tax would have meant an increase of more than $100 for a home in Campton Township, she said.

The tax would generate roughly $13 million to help Kane County residents with developmental disabilities.

AID and supporters of the referendum may be able to have it placed on the ballot without the input of the County Board in 2014 through petitioning for signatures. They’re currently about 8,000 short of their signature goal.

AID President Lynn O’Shea said she was disappointed that the issue won’t be on the 2013 election ballot. But there is the alternate route to achieve their goal in 2014.

“It’s giving us time for people to fully understand all these questions,” she said.

Illinois ranks 48th in the nation in amount spent per capita on home- and community-based services for people with developmental disabilities, according to information provided by AID.

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