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Election

Downers Grove voters must weigh stormwater, mosquito questions on November ballot

DOWNERS GROVE – Political races often get the bulk of the attention during election years, but Downers Grove residents will be asked a pair of questions on the upcoming general election ballot that could have a big impact on the future of local politics.

The village of Downers Grove and the Downers Grove Township will both ask its residents non-binding referendum questions, meaning there is no direct effect stemming from the voters' feelings on the subject. However, the questions will likely be a cornerstone of public discourse.

The village is asking its residents to weigh in on its current and future stormwater mitigation and how to tackle paying for it.

Currently, the village of Downers Grove funds its projected $3.9 million in stormwater costs included in the 2017 budget through a stormwater utility fee.

Village staff previously identified $42 million in possible stormwater-related capital projects and recommended increasing the amount spent on maintenance each year to $4 million.

The items will appear as follows:

“This question is the first in a series of three questions relating to stormwater funding. In 2017, the Village plans to budget $3.9 million for stormwater costs. Currently, annual costs are funded with a stormwater utility fee. The Village of Downers Grove is seeking resident input to determine whether it should fund stormwater costs with a stormwater utility fee, through property taxes or with a combination of both the stormwater utility fee and property taxes.

1. Shall the village of Downers Grove continue to fund all stormwater costs using a stormwater utility fee instead of property taxes?

2. Shall the Village of Downers Grove fund all stormwater costs using property taxes instead of a stormwater utility fee?

3. Shall the Village of Downers Grove fund all stormwater costs using a combination of stormwater utility fees and property taxes?"

Those that live in the Downers Grove Township – which includes Downers Grove and portions of Bolingbrook, Burr Ridge, Clarendon Hills, Darien, Hinsdale, Lemont, Oak Brook, Westmont, Willow Springs, Willowbrook and Woodridge – will have a question on a similarly public service: mosquito abatement.

The body is joining eight other townships in DuPage County to ask whether they should consolidate its abatement services. Illinois is infamous for the density of its local government bodies, at one point clocked at more than 7,000 individual agencies.

DuPage townships are now asking their residents if they believe consolidation is best for the area:

"Should mosquito abatement services currently provided by more than forty (40) governmental entities located throughout DuPage County be consolidated and distributed geographically among the nine (9) Townships in DuPage County in order to increase efficiency and save taxpayer dollars?"

To learn more about who and what is appearing on the November ballot, visit dupageco.org/election and downers.us/stormwater-utility.

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