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Libertyville voters pass $20 million roads referendum

Libertyville voters exceeded election officials expectations with a high turn out at at Evangelical Free Church, 431 W. Austin Ave. (Chicago Tribune\Amy Alderman)

Libertyville voters exceeded election officials expectations with a high turn out at at Evangelical Free Church, 431 W. Austin Ave. (Chicago Tribune\Amy Alderman)

The majority of Libertyville voters who came out Tuesday agreed to pay more money in taxes in order  to fix local roads, according to unofficial Lake County election results.

The vote means the village will issue $20 million in bonds for the repairs and residents will see their property taxes increase by about $34 a year.

“I’m very happy the residents have given us an opportunity to fix the roads, allow officials to do what’s right and get things done,” Mayor Terry Weppler said. Improvements on the streets will begin as soon as spring 2013, he added.

Sixty percent of voters favored the referendum.

According to Libertyville officials, the village was running out of financial options to maintain eroding streets, which is why the referendum  to raise the village’s portion of the property tax levy by 30 percent was put to voters. The bonds will be staggered into four $5
million bond issues, according to village documents.

The pavement throughout Libertyville needs to be rehabilitated within the next five to seven years in order to prevent having to completely reconstruct streets, according to documents on village staff recommendations. Public Works Director John Heinz said the  village has spent an average of $956,000 on road repairs for each of the last 22 years, and the budget for repairs dropped in the last three years to just under $700,000.

Village staff and officials will start as soon as possible on engineering plans for the improvements with a goal of fixing the roads at the top of the priority list beginning in spring 2013, Weppler said.

Voter turnout for the primary, which also included candidates for the Republican presidential race, was higher than expected election officials said. The roads referendum is likely what brought out a higher than anticipated number of voters, they said.

Kavork Hagopian, 44, Libertyville resident and an administrator for a retirement community voted for the referendum, saying he believes better roads means more visitors to the area.

“We need to keep things up and running—anything to get people to get to Libertyville, Hagopian said.

Dan Yorkey, 49, disagreed.

“Let the roads go to hell. I’m not interested in it (roads referendum) at all. I don’t want to pay any more money,” Yorkey said.

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