One of the latest issues at hand is a Kane County Forest Preserve District referendum to ask permission to issue $30 million in general obligation bonds to fund the acquisitionof up to 2,000 acres of open land as well as maintenance and preservation of currently held lands and facilities. At such a sensitive time in the economy – when unemployment and foreclosure remains high and with gas prices soaring, many Kane County residents are having a hard time swallowing this request. I think the big question everyone is asking is this: is this the best time to burden the taxpayers with additional expenses for what could be called something that’s non-essential?
I, like I’m sure many others, have conflicting opinions on the subject. On one hand, I don’t like to see new taxes added to my bill. Officials have estimated the average tax burden for a $300,000 home to be about $15 a year. Now that doesn’t sound too bad but like the saying goes, those little pieces of straw can add up fast and quickly become back-breaking. For many Kane County homeowners who have sometimes had to choose between eating and making mortgage payments, $15 for more forest preserves seems ridiculous.
On the other hand, the value of more open space enhances our lifestyle and home values (although that may be hard to believe in this market). While $30 million sounds like a lot, it’s far less than voters approved in similar referendums years ago and due to the current price of land, that money will stretch twice if not three times as far. It’s not hard to see that biting the bullet right now and spending the money would save money compared to buying the same land when the market isn’t as down as it is now.
This issue will remain hotly debated until it’s decided on April 5th. Usually it’s easy for me to come to a conclusion about these issues but like many other voters, I really do see both sides of the issue here. When it comes time to vote, I can’t say which way I will personally go – I honestly don’t know. But it a sure bet that things will be close.