Local Election

Voters face referendums, local races Tuesday

Voters on Tuesday will have choices to make – some voters more than others.

Every McHenry County voter will be asked whether they want to create a new taxing body to aid people with developmental disabilities. Many voters will be asked to choose three McHenry County College trustees from a crowded field of nine candidates.

All township seats are up for election. Voters in Grafton Township will have an opportunity to choose their leaders after four years of lawsuits, infighting and dysfunction.

But about two-thirds of the 200-plus individual races on McHenry County ballots, which include school board, village boards, fire district boards among others are uncontested.

The following is a list of a few of the races and referendums in Tuesday’s election:

• REFERENDUMS – Voters are being asked to create a developmental disabilities board, or a “377 board.”

If approved, the referendum would create an advisory board and a corresponding property tax that the board would disburse to agencies that help the developmentally disabled.

The tax rate being sought is 10 cents per $100 in assessed valuation, or about $60 a year for the owner of a $200,000 house who takes the homestead exemption.

Voters in McHenry High School District 156 will be asked whether the district can spend most of the $2.2 million it saved in a bond refinancing to update technology and install security measures. 

Voters would see a tax reduction – about $14 for a $200,000, owner-occupied home – if the referendum fails.

Wonder Lake and Marengo voters will be asked whether they want their governments to aggregate electrical customers to be able to shop around for cheaper rates. The Wonder Lake referendum only affects the incorporated part – voters in unincorporated McHenry County last year rejected aggregation by a nearly 2-to-1 margin.

• MCC – A proposed multimillion-dollar expansion plan to be funded by a fitness center is fueling a large field of candidates, some of whom are running to stop it.

Nine candidates are running for the three open, six-year terms. Two are incumbents and seven are challengers.

Newcomers Chris Jenner and Thomas Wilbeck are running to stop expansion plans, arguing that population and enrollment projections don’t justify it. They especially oppose a proposal to pay for it through alternative revenue bonds, which do not require voter approval.

Both incumbents – Carol Larson and Barbara Walters – fully support the college’s development plan. The remaining challengers have questioned the college’s growth projections or expressed concerns about how to fund an expansion.

• MAYOR/VILLAGE PRESIDENT – There’s a big contest for mayor in McHenry, where incumbent Sue Low faces a challenge from former mayor Steve Cuda.

In Cary, Village Trustee Bruce Kaplan is taking on former trustee Mark Kownick. There’s also a contentious village president’s race in Johnsburg between incumbent Ed Hettermann and challenger Maggie Haney.

Several other towns including Harvard, Hebron, Lakemoor, Barrington Hills and Island Lake also have mayor or village president races while several towns have contests for village board or city council, including Crystal Lake.

• GRAFTON TOWNSHIP – All but one township office is contested between Republican candidates and independents running as a slate to end four years of paralysis and litigation fueled in large part by acrimony between the outgoing supervisor and outgoing trustees.

The slate of “Restore Grafton Township”  includes supervisor candidate James Kearns, highway commissioner candidate Tim Hoeft, assessor candidate Terra Jensen, and trustee candidates Tammy Lueth, Joe Holtorf and Dan Ziller, Jr.

Republican candidates include supervisor candidate Pam Fender, assessor candidate Alan Zielinski, highway commissioner candidate Tom Poznanski, and trustee candidates Robert Wagner, Betty Zirk, Carol Williams and David Moore.

Also running for trustee is independent candidate Marci Gordon, who is not part of the Restore slate.

Zirk is the only incumbent trustee running. Fender defeated outgoing Supervisor Linda Moore in the February primary. Trustees in 2010 briefly hired Fender as township administrator to do the job that they said Moore was not doing to their satisfaction, but a judge ruled that the job was not valid without Moore’s approval.

• OTHER RACES OF NOTE: Seven candidates, not counting two write-in slots, are running for four open seats on the school board of Prairie Grove District 46, where teachers last year went on a strike that lasted one day, after working almost two years without a contract.

Fox Lake voters are being asked to choose between incumbents, running as the Focused on Fox Lake Party, and opponents running as the Common Sense Party. There are contested seats for village president, clerk and trustee. Each party is running three candidates for the three open trustee seats, and there is a seventh independent candidate running. 

Two parties – United for Progress and For the People – are likewise fielding candidates in Island Lake for the offices of mayor, clerk and trustee. There are six candidates, three from each party, running for three open trustee seats.

• UNCONTESTED RACES – About two-thirds of the races facing county voters are uncontested. 

About half of the races for McHenry County’s school boards are contested, while about 40 percent of races for municipalities and 33 percent of fire districts likewise have more candidates than open seats. 

Only one of the county’s five park districts, and two of the county’s 11 library boards, have contested races.

• TURNOUT – Despite some races that could generate heavy local participation, County Clerk Katherine Schultz anticipates a countywide voter turnout of 16 percent, where it has hovered over the past few odd-year elections.

On the Net

Visit NWHerald.com/election to read more about the issues and the candidates in Tuesday’s election.

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