2022 primary election: Harvard sales tax, Crystal Lake Park District terms focus of referendums

Election 2024
A road in need of repairs is shown in a Harvard subdivision.

McHenry County voters weighed in on two referendums Tuesday, one in Harvard asking for a sales tax increase for road improvements and the other for the Crystal Lake Park District to implement longer terms for its elected officials.

With all Harvard area precincts reporting, Harvard voters turned down a request for an additional 1% sales tax. The Crystal Lake Park District question also trailed in the polls.

As of about 11 p.m. Tuesday, the Harvard question appeared to fail, with 229 yes votes to 412 no votes, or 36% to 64%, according to unofficial election results from the McHenry County Clerk’s Office. The results include Election Day totals as well as early and mail-in ballots; they did not include provisionally cast or late-arriving mail-in ballots.

The Crystal Lake Park District, which includes Crystal Lake, Lakewood and part of Lake in the Hills, sought to increase the terms of its park commissioners to six years from the current four in an effort to ensure future stability of the board by staggering the election cycle, said Kurt Reckamp, the Crystal Lake Park District’s superintendent of recreation programs and facility services.

That question was also failing with 5,463 no votes to 2,102 yes votes, or 72% to 28%, according to unofficial results with 100% of precincts reporting,

The change would not increase costs or taxes for the elected board, according to the park district’s website.

The current commissioners would serve out their remaining time in office. In 2023, one commissioner would be elected to a six-year term and two would be elected to four-year terms. In 2025, one would be elected to a four-year term and three would be elected to six-year terms. Beginning in 2027, all commissioners would be elected to six-year terms.

Harvard’s question seeks to add $500,000 annually to its road construction budget, Village Manager Dave Nelson said.

While the state increased the amount Harvard gets for road construction costs by about 30%, costs for road construction went up by that amount too, Nelson said.

The city board sought additional funding from the sales tax to allow Harvard to triple its road resurfacing schedule from six or seven blocks each season to 20 or 21, he said.

Currently, the city is on a two-year plan for road resurfacing, Nelson said. With a recent technology grant, the city is using a geographical imaging system to complete a five-year plan.

With the question turned down by voters, trustees will have to determine how to move forward with existing funds.

“We will plug away with the resources we have available to us,” Nelson said.