Nunda Township Open Space Referendum

In 2006, there were two open space referendums on the ballot in Nunda Township.

One passed and the other narrowly lost.

You can see the parcels that were identified two years below (click to enlarge this image or any other):

The one to authorize the open space district passed by 132 votes. 51.5% to 48.5%. That was the easy one.

The referendum asking whether voters were willing to pony up the money—$20 million—failed by 27 votes. 49.7% to 50.3%.

Supporters organizing themselves for the campaign as “Nunda Neighbors for Open Space” obviously thought the vote was close enough to try again. This time for $15 million.

Their web site estimates that a $350,000 home would pay $63 annually for the 20-year period the bonds would be outstanding.

The issue re-surfaced at the Nunda Township meeting last year when Democratic Party Chair Kathy Bergen Schmidt made the motion to put the funding referendum on the ballot. Brian Weaver, who ran in the Republican primary for township assessor, seconded the motion. According to the comment left below by Schmidt, the vote to put the referendum on the ballot was unanimous. She reports that all of the “Team Nunda” candidates attended the meeting.

That motion obligated the township to place the issue on the ballot.

The two Democrats running for trustee endorse the proposal, while the opposition Republican slate —Team Nunda— isn’t:

“Team Nunda remains neutral on the Open Space Referendum to sincerely support the choice made by the Nunda Township voters rather than promote any personal agendas.”

It appears the GOP slate is trying to put a little distance between themselves and the tax hike effort.

Meanwhile McHenry County Libertarians are putting on a campaign against the referendum.

An article on the party blog says, in part,

“While unemployment is skyrocketing, the stock market crashing and people worry from day to day about finances our leaders close their eyes to reality and suggest more taxes. Some people say, ‘but Dave, it’s only $$$ a year, what’s the big deal?’ I answer that with this question … ‘Ok , ____, give me a tax number that is enough then.'”

Endorsing the referendum, according to proponents’ direct mail piece, are

  • McHenry County Conservation Foundation
  • The Land Conservancy
  • Boone Creek Watershed Alliance
  • USDA Natural Resources Conservation District
  • The Sierra Club
  • McHenry County Audubon Society
  • Friends of the Fox
  • Environmental Defenders of McHenry County
  • Bull Valley Association
  • McHenry County Farm Bureau
  • McHenry County Soil & Water Conservation District
  • Open Lands Project
  • McHenry County Board member Barb Wheeler
  • McHenry County Board member Kathy Bergen Schmidt
  • State Senator Pam Althoff

Below is the additional information that proponents have mailed out:

The pitches being made include one that more open space will preserve shallow aquifer rainwater recharge areas, as well as curtailing demand in the area. (Remember to click on the image to make it large enough to read.)

Another is that it is cheaper to buy the land and pay the cost of its purchase over 20 years than to subsidize the houses that otherwise would be built on the properties. The argument is made that it costs 31 cents for every tax dollar collected to provide services to open space, but $1.11 for each tax dollar to service homes.

Nunda Neighbors for Open Space Committee members are Ders Anderson, Crystal Lake

  • Nancy Schietzelt, Crystal Lake
  • Michael Kutnick, McHenry
  • Lori McConville, Crystal Lake
  • John MacDonald, McHenry
  • Louise Reinier, Crystal Lake
  • Tom and Carolyn Lillegard, Crystal Lake

The committee argues that with the depressed price of real estate and the low interest rates, this is the best time to buy land.

Other Illinois townships buying open space:

  • Dundee Township in Kane County – 862 acres
  • Compton Township in Kane County – 781 acres
  • Libertyville Township in Lake County – 1,500 acres
  • Homer Township in Will County – 200 acres


Nunda Township Open Space Referendum — 4 Comments

  1. There’s a few factual errors in this account that should be corrected.

    It was myself, a Democrat, and ALAN Weaver, a Republican, who made and seconded the motion at the 2008 Nunda Annual Township meeting that the Open Space referendum be placed on the ballot. It passed unanimously, with all the Team Nunda candidates who currently hold township office voting in favor of that action.

    Alan was the Republican challenger to Dennis Jagla in the February 2009 Republican primary.

    This is a referendum. It has supporters from both parties. It has opponents from both parties. Those who are Independent can be found on both sides. It is an issue that transcends party lines and that should be considered on its own merits.

  2. I’ll correct the party ID of Weaver. I certainly should have recognized him.

    I shall also note the approval vote was without dissent.

    Thanks for the correction.

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