BATAVIA – Advocates for a countywide referendum that would increase funding for those with developmental disabilities spoke on Monday about the need for such a referendum during a forum sponsored by the League of Women Voters of Central Kane County.
“Think of this as a safety net,” said Chuck Miles, chairman of the board of directors for the Association for Individual Development. His 21-year-old daughter has developmental disabilities.
More than 1,000 Kane County residents with developmental disabilities such as Down syndrome and autism are on waiting lists for such services as job training, housing, transportation and respite care, Miles said.
“Help them be what they can be,” Miles said. “That’s what we owe our fellow citizens.”
The referendum seeks a 0.1 percent property tax that would raise about $12 million a year to provide disability services. The increase would cost an additional $55 in property taxes for a house valued at $182,000, Miles said.
Advocates already have collected enough signatures to put the referendum on the March 2014 ballot. State law allows for counties to create a Developmental Disability Board and collect a 10-cent property tax to support services.
If it passes, Kane would join 14 other Illinois counties that also createdboards to fund services for the developmentally disabled.
“This is not about an agency,” Miles said. “It is about taking care of people in Kane County.”
Stephen Taylor, executive director of Geneva-based DayOne Network, is a strong supporter of the referendum. DayOne Network is a private, nonprofit, community-based agency providing service coordination and advocacy services to children and adults with developmental delays and/or disabilities of all ages.
“This is a game changer,” he said. “This is about us fixing this for ourselves.”
Of the more than 3,000 people with development disabilities his agency sees, between 600 to 700 have been waiting 10 years for services, Taylor said.
More information about the referendum is at www.ShowYouCareKane.com.