Decisions about all-day kindergarten in Geneva, a countywide disabilities services tax and a new St. Charles police chief are expected in the new year, as the Tri-Cities continue to work on current development projects and plan for future ones.
All-day kindergarten could be offered in Geneva next school year if District 304 officials determine the costs don't outweigh the benefits of the program.
Parents spoke in favor of the program at a recent forum, but officials said they would hold off on a decision until they can evaluate the costs of offering kindergartners a full day of school. Officials expect that report to be completed by the end of January.
In 2008, the school board expressed support for full-day kindergarten, after a committee spent more than a year compiling research and interviewing other districts about the benefits. But the board ultimately decided against it because of cost concerns.
Last spring, several parents contacted board members and asked them to consider the program again. Others have voiced support for the program to prepare for an expected state mandate to provide full-day kindergarten in coming years.
Housing study due
Communities in the central Fox Valley will have another tool to help plan for a projected housing demand increase when a study is completed this spring.
An analysis by the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning estimates that St. Charles will see 4,010 new households by 2040, while neighboring Geneva and Batavia could see an increase of 3,768 households and 3,573 households, respectively.
Over the last few months, representatives from the agency and the Kane County Planning Cooperative have been working with public officials and residents in St. Charles, Geneva, Batavia and North Aurora to conduct the study and help guide municipal leaders as they determine housing policy for future developments in their communities.
The study, titled "Homes for a Changing Region," is part of a larger regional research project aimed at creating a "balanced mix of housing" in the Chicago area. The agency has already completed plans for three subregional areas, according to agency officials.
In November, residents had the opportunity through public workshops and an online survey to tell what they would like to see in their neighborhoods in future years.
Planners hope to present a full draft of recommendations in February, which will be reviewed by officials and residents before final the plans are made in May.
Tax hike on ballot
Voters in Kane County will consider a tax increase this spring that would raise about $12 million annually for developmental disabilities services.
The proposal would tax property at 0.1 percent of its assessed value, and the money would be distributed by a disability board made up of people from throughout the county that would hire agencies to support independent living, jobs, therapy, transportation and other care for those with developmental disabilities.
If passed by voters on the March 18 ballot Kane County would become the 15th county in Illinois with a disability board.
In November, members of the "Show You Care Kane" campaign filed 32,260 signatures to place the referendum on the ballot.
The average tax increase would be about $55 a year for the owner of a $182,000 house.
Liquor fees rising?