Sturtevant residents will be asked in November whether or not they’re willing to pay more in taxes over the next five years to help fund parks improvements and part of the annual fireworks cost.
Trustees voted Tuesday to add the question to the ballot for the gubernatorial election in November. A referendum is one of the only ways for a community to exceed statutorily required levy limits.
In short, if residents approve the measure, the village tax levy would go up 1.8 percent over the 2013 tax levy. Property owners would pay an extra $19 per year per $100,000 of assessed value.
Board members first discussed the option shortly after the 4th of July holiday as a way to help fund the annual fireworks display primarily because the same group of volunteers who steps up every year is getting burned out.
The fireworks were taken off the village budget in 2007 has been funded by donations and special events like the Dinner with Santa.
“We’re burned out,” Trustee Daryl Lynaugh said then. “This is a lot of work, and it’s been the same group of people since this started.”
Total cost for the fireworks – including the display, rentals and the live entertainment – comes in around $28,000.
Village President Steve Jansen said he thinks the referendum as a whole in a worthwhile investment in the community.
“The fireworks is a Sturtevant tradition dating back 60 years, and some things are worth saving,” he added. “I believe the five-year question will help secure the fireworks and at the same time help make our parks more attractive and useful.”
At a meeting earlier this month, members of Lynaugh’s Community Events, Beautification and Culture Committee talked also about adding the village’s parks and the potential to re-introduce a summer rec program to the referendum.
“Because of budget challenges, we cut the summer time rec program,” Jansen said. “We’ve really done nothing from a village standpoint except for some improvements at South Park with the ball field that was 30 years overdue.”
Volunteer Master Gardeners have been caring for the grounds at village parks for years, and public works employees mow the grass and perform routine maintenance, but the annual budget has for years lacked a dedicated line item for parks.