As of mid-day Nov. 10, supporters of a tax referendum for the Forest Park Public Library outnumbered the opposition by nearly 8 percentage points, marking a slow up-tick in the referendum’s margin of victory.
Just fewer than 92 percent of the votes have been counted and the referendum appears to have enough support to hold on to its current margin of 1,589 votes to 1,362.
Village Clerk Vanessa Moritz said the likelihood of the 12th and final precinct returning enough votes to defeat the referendum is slim.
“It seems like the more precincts that come in, the more yes votes there are,” Moritz said.
The morning after the Nov. 7 election, 25 percent of the votes were left to be counted with only nine of the 12 precincts reporting, according to the Cook County Clerk’s website. At that time, support for the referendum maintained a slim margin of 1,372 to 1,191.
On the following day the clerk’s website reported 10 of the 12 precincts had been counted, and support for the measure appeared to be growing. Opponents of the referendum were outnumbered by a count of 1,344 to 1,561 in favor.
Library Director Rodger Brayden was unavailable for comment Friday, but said immediately after Tuesday’s election that if the margin of victory remained at 6 or 7 percentage points, supporters had no reason to be bashful.
“Certainly if we win by that margin there’s nothing to apologize for, but it’s not a landslide,” Brayden said.
Voters turned out to the polls for the 2006 mid-term elections in respectable numbers Tuesday to weigh in on the referendum and several national and state races. Aside from the library referendum, Forest Park voters were also drawn to the polls by the governor’s race, contests for the Cook County Board of Commissioners and several national races.
Moritz said she’s estimating a 44 percent participation rate, based on the votes counted thus far. Forest Park has 7,900 registered voters, Moritz said.
“That’s pretty good considering we didn’t have any hot local issues,” Moritz said.
In the November 2004 presidential election, more than 79 percent of Forest Park voters went to the polls, and in the 2002 election roughly 50 percent turned out, Moritz said.
The library referendum asks voters to approve an increase in the limiting rate of the overall property tax rate in Forest Park. This would fix that portion of the property tax rate for the next four years, regardless of fluctuations in property value.
Brayden has estimated the library will receive an additional $500,000 in tax revenue during each of the four years.
With the referendum, the library’s budget will swell from roughly $700,000 to $1.2 million in a single year. Subsequently, the budget will likely increase an additional half million dollars each year until 2009, depending on property values. In 2009, the library’s property tax income would again be regulated by the state’s tax cap system, which limits rate increases to the lesser of 5 percent or the consumer price index.
The requested increase of .15 percent means that a home valued at $100,000 would be taxed $143 under the new limiting rate of .346 percent. For a $200,000 home the taxes for the limiting rate would be an estimated $285.
According to Moritz, the Cook County clerk’s office is not certain when all of the village’s votes will be counted.
In local races, Republican incumbent Robert Ingraffia was unseated by his Democratic challenger Charles Flowers for the Suburban Cook County Regional Superintendent’s office. With 97 percent of the precincts reporting as of Nov. 10, Flowers enjoyed a sizeable lead by a count of 356,513 to 220,436.
For more than three decades, Ingraffia worked in the regional superintendent’s office in various capacities, but lost his first contested bid for re-election.
Flowers is a member of the Proviso Township District 209 Board of Education.
In the congressional races, 3rd District incumbent Dan Lipinski (D) defeated Republican challenger Raymond Wardingly. With 643 of the 650 precincts reporting, Lipinski captured 77 percent of the votes, according to the Chicago Tribune.
In the 7th District, Democratic incumbent Danny Davis won re-election over Republican Charles Hutchinson. With 689 of the 699 precincts reporting, Davis won 87 percent of the votes, according to the Tribune.
For state senate, Kimberly Lightford (D – 4th District), took victory over Republican challenger Antoinette Ruback. With 206 of the 211 precincts reporting their results, Lightford captured 89 percent of the votes cast, according to the Tribune.
In the 7th District race for state representative, Democratic incumbent Karen Yarbrough ran uncontested.