Madison - St. Clair Record

Friday, August 23, 2019

Americans for Prosperity 'thrilled' after residents reject Cahokia annexation referendum

By Taryn Phaneuf | Mar 22, 2016

Voters shot down a referendum to annex the Parkfield Terrace neighborhood into the Village of Cahokia.

In the March 15 primary elections, “no” voters outweighed “yes” voters 152 to 85. The referendum failed following efforts by the Illinois chapter of Americans For Prosperity to educate voters on the consequences the annexation would have on residents’ property taxes.

“We were thrilled that the referendum failed and folks get to keep more of their money,” Andrew Nelms, deputy director for the organization, told the Record.

The number of votes against the referendum led Nelms to conclude that voters didn’t like the lack of transparency and the cost associated with the referendum, he said.

After inquiring about the potential financial impact of annexation, Nelms said he was told the village didn’t have any information on how the referendum would change property taxes.

So AFP-Illinois worked ahead of the election to inform voters in the St. Clair County village that annexation would likely mean a property tax increase of 38 percent for residents of the relevant neighborhood.

He said he hopes officials will be more transparent if they decide to pursue annexation again in the future.

“It’s my hope they would be more forthcoming with information regarding the true cost of the referendum to homeowners,” Nelms said. “Hopefully it serves as a lesson to the village.”

The referendum in Cahokia was one of more than two dozen around the state that the anti-tax group battled. Fourteen of those were defeated last week, Nelms said.

This was the sixth time the organization has pursued its Local Anti-Tax Initiative, which looks at referendums around the state and focuses on those that would raise taxes or debt, informing voters and encouraging them to vote against them.

“Overall, voters around the state rejected 52 tax hikes,” Nelms said.

AFP-Illinois found 120 tax questions on local ballots this election cycle.

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