The April 4 ballot will present a bond issue to voters who live within the Prairie DuPont Levee system. Many voters may think that bond issues mean more money will come out of their pockets. However, this bond issue will replace a past bond issue that has reached its maturity; therefore, no increase of additional funds are requested.
This $170 million levee structure, protecting over $520 million in property, is run on a budget of just $150,000 a year. Of that, $35,000 is a liability insurance premium. We have two full-time employees making modest wages with modest benefits. Commissioners earn $76.95 a month with no benefits, no vehicles, or the perks provided by the IMRF programs that other elected officials collect. All decisions concerning financial matters, equipment purchases, pump station maintenance, and day-to-day operations are made by the commission. The new levee improvements are going to require extensive maintenance costs. Our tax levy cannot be changed. These levees also protect Interstate 255 free of charge, and the rail yards at a modest tax rate, as neither is based on assessed property values like we taxpayers are. The work done under flood conditions is done by unpaid volunteers.
Vote no on the bond issue, and the district most likely will go insolvent. This could possibly result in our levee system falling under control of political appointees who don’t live here. Vote yes, and continue to have local farmers and citizens living within the system wrestle with the incredible task of maintaining this magnificent flood protection structure on a shoestring budget.
Jule Levin, Dupo
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