The massive effort in the past year to support a property tax increase of 0.1 percent in Kane County came to a resounding defeat Tuesday, according to unofficial election results, with 25,487 voting no to 14,465 voting yes.
Charles Miles of Geneva, who had hoped the referendum would pass so that his developmentally disabled adult daughter might get additional help, said those who tried to promote the referendum were disappointed in the loss.
"Obviously to all the people who worked so hard to try to get this passed, it is particularly disappointing to the families that this referendum would improve the quality of life for those who have developmental disabilities," Miles said. "We knew it would be an uphill battle, but we did not expect for it to be that bad."
If levied at the full rate, the measure would have increased the tax burden by about $100 a year for the owner of a $300,000 home. The tax would have raised about $13 million to be administered by a disabilities board – also known as a 377 board – for housing, transportation, jobs and job training, among other services for people with disabilities.
Show You Care Kane spearheaded a petition drive, collecting 34,260 signatures to get the referendum on the ballot after Kane County officials would not put the question to voters.
While supporters mourned the ballot defeat, North Aurora resident Rae Ann McNeilly, of Kane County Taxpayers Fight Back, said it represents a victory for taxpayers.
"There are so many people with so many special needs, that to tie this kind of funding to the property taxes would be immoral and unjust," McNeilly said. "That is not to say there is no compassion for these people with special needs."
McNeilly said funding for those services should come from private donations.