On March 20, voters will decide whether or not to approve approximately $500,000 in additional property taxes payable to Aurora Township for services for senior citizens.
The increase would result in additional property taxes of $12.50 annually for the owner of a $150,000 home – the median home value in Aurora Township.
The Ballot Question
Shall Aurora Township, Kane County, Illinois be authorized to levy a new tax for the sole and exclusive purpose of providing services to senior citizens under Article 220 of the Township Code, including but not limited to construction, maintenance, repair, and operation of a senior center, and have an additional tax of 0.025% of the taxable property therein extended for such purposes?
(1) The approximate amount of taxes extendable at the most recently extended limiting rate is $4,029,812 and the approximate amount of taxes extendable therefore if the proposition is approved is $4,513,503.
(2) For the 2017 levy year the approximate amount of the additional tax extendable against property containing a single family residence and having a fair market value at the time of the referendum of $100,000 is estimated to be $7.18.
Who asked for this referendum?
Representatives of Senior Services Associates, a not-for-profit agency based in Elgin, asked the Township Board to place this question on the ballot. Aurora Township’s senior population is growing rapidly, they argued. Senior Services have had to eliminate programs, impose hiring freezes and start wait lists for other services. The not-for-profit offers adult protective services, care management, caregiver assistance and in-home services, to name a few. A similar ballot question passed in Elgin Township last year.
Although Senior Services Associates has been in the forefront of advocating for this referendum, proceeds from the new tax would be available to all nonprofit agencies that serve seniors in Aurora Township.
If the referendum is approved, how will the money be spent?
In the end, the Township board will approve all expenditures.
The board has not voted upon a process to decide exactly how the funds would be spent but an unpaid advisory board will likely be appointed and make recommendations to the board. It is likely that the board would partner in a unified application with the local Funders Consortium, a group including the Dunham Fund, the Inc Board, our local United Way, the City of Aurora and the Community Foundation of the Fox River Valley.
By law, all spending would have to be on services for senior citizens.
Although the question includes a reference to construction of a senior center, one already exists in Aurora with a long-term lease.
What happens if the referendum is not approved?
In short, the status quo.
Aurora Township will continue to participate in the Ride in Kane program, which offers subsidized paratransit opportunities for disabled persons and senior citizens. The program, a partnership with Pace and subsidized by federal grants, averages about 3,000 rides a month. Total cost of the program is approximately $650,000.
The Township also offers handyman services for low-income seniors. It also cuts the lawns of 100 low-income seniors. As of March 13, we have a waiting list of 35 people for that program.
In recent years, Aurora Township has provided Senior Services Associates with an annual grant of $15,000 to support their senior center at 800 N. Lake Street in the Northgate shopping center.
Please feel free to contact Aurora Township Supervisor Bill Catching at William.firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 630-897-8777.