Tolono Township rejects tax increase for roads
TOLONO — Voters in this southern Champaign County township have rejected a proposed 10-cent tax rate increase to help with road repair.
A total of 730 residents cast ballots Tuesday, with unofficial results indicating 445 "no" votes and 285 "yes" votes.
Tolono Township encompasses Tolono, south Savoy and northeast Sadorus. The township maintains 48 miles of road.
The township's road tax is 16 cents per $100 of assessed valuation.
It wanted to raise the rate to 26 cents per $100.
A 10-cent tax rate increase would have cost the owner of a $100,000 home in the township about $25.23 per year more in property taxes.
"I'm disappointed," Tolono Township Highway Commissioner Brad Clemmons said. "We're not going to be able to expand our salting, and there are projects in the township we're not going to be able to get done as quickly."
Clemmons said he didn't understand why voters turned against the measure.
"I think we got the word out there good and tried to explain what we were wanting to do," he said.
Clemmons said the township will likely put a proposal on the ballot again in November.
"We don't have a joint bridge fund like most townships have," he said, noting that the account was eliminated in the 1990s. "That's money we've lost the whole time. I don't think we were out of line asking for what we were asking for."
Parks bonds OK'd. Voters approved a $500,000 bond proposal to develop and improve Tolono's parks by a margin of 337 to 178.
Clemmons said that after the first precinct was counted and the proposal was only being defeated by 43 votes, he still had hope.
"I thought maybe we can still get it," he said. "But I understand times are hard."
Park District President Randy Grace said the funds would be used for improvements like concession stands and bathrooms at both West Side Park and the new East Side Park, which is still under construction.
In 2011, the park district received an Open Space Lands Acquisition and Development (OSLAD) grant through the Illinois Department of Natural Resources to help develop the 6.2 acres at the corner of Walnut and Central streets to create East Side Park.
When construction is complete, there will be two ball diamonds, a soccer field, a basketball court, walking paths all around the park, a park district administrative building, a concession stand and a shelter area.
The state paid for half of the cost of the $800,000 project through the matching grant.
The park district's annual budget is about $52,000.
"I'm very happy," Grace said. "I'm glad the Tolono people think a lot of the parks and want to upgrade them and don't mind paying a little extra for it."
Approving the bond will mean a rise in taxes of 12.57 cents per $100 of equalized assessed valuation.
For the owner of a $100,000 home, property taxes will go up $34, while for a senior citizen, it would be $28 or $29, according to Grace.
"I think they know the park needs it," he said. "We've not been able to make upgrades to West Side Park for years and years. We've just been getting by. They know we have a plan."