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Kane County Could See April Referendum to Support Developmentally Disabled

At issue: With state and federal revenue sources shrinking, Show You Care Kane is seeking a referendum that would increase property taxes by about $83 for the owner of a $250,000 home.

Lynn O'Shea of the Association for Individual Development said in December that the AID board had made the decision to pursue a referendum on the April ballot seeking a property tax increase to help fund mental health services.

"We need everyone’s help to solve this problem," she said.

AID and a group called Show You Care Kane started a petition drive to raise signatures in time to put the question on the April 9 ballot. Supporters went to Kane County with a request to put a referendum on the ballot that would raise about $13 million for the care of the developmentally disabled.

Kane County's Public Health Committee on Thursday recommended the full County Board approve the referendum, according to an article in the Kane County Chronicle. The question would move to the county's Executive Committee on Jan. 10, according to an article in The Beacon-News. The County Board has until Jan. 22 to vote on the question and is expected to vote on Jan. 15.

A chart provided on Show You Care Kane's website indicates the tax increase would cost about $83 a year for the owner of a $250,000 home.

An article in the Daily Herald points out that local funding mechanisms for mental health differ throughout the county. The southern part of the county has a 708 Board, but townships in the northern part of Kane County do not. The cities of Geneva and St. Charles have their own municipal mental health boards.

One of the many tough questions is whether the establishment of a countywide funding source would eliminate the need or reduce the tax rates for the local mental health boards and the 708 Board on the southern end of Kane County.

AID Vice President Patrick Flaherty told Kane County that local agencies serve about 40,000 developmentally disabled residents of Kane County, about 10,000 of whom require lifelong care. Countywide, there is a 1,100-person waiting list for services.

Proposed Ballot Question

Shall Kane County levy an annual tax not to exceed 0.1% upon the equalized assessed value of all taxable property in the county for the purposes of providing facilities or services for the benefit of its residents who are intellectually disabled or under a developmental disability and who are not eligible to participate in any program provided under Article 14 of the School Code, 105 ILCS 5/14-1.01 et seq., including contracting for those facilities or services with any privately or publicly operated entity that provides those facilities or services either in or out of the county?

Southern Lady January 06, 2013 at 10:21 PM
Be creative. Find some other way to raise funds rather than increase property taxes. We're being taxed out of our homes as it is!
Ted Schnell (Editor) January 07, 2013 at 01:03 AM
From my own observations over the years, social services agencies -- particularly those that provide mental health services -- have had to be creative in obtaining funding for far longer than many other agencies, relying on local governments for only a portion of their funding. Typically, when the federal government cuts spending, social and mental health services seem to get hit first. Funding for mental health services in particular has been hard-hit in Illinois.

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