Crime is a big problem in the Rockford area. But, would residents be willing to pay more in taxes to fight it?
A proposal, floated by some Winnebago County Board Members, would raise the county’s sales tax one quarter of one percent to bolster the sheriff’s police budget.
Board member Gary Jury says let the people decide. He says, “I would be open to at least putting it one the ballot, letting people decide, either yes or no.”
The county board had originally voted to refinance the jail loan to free up $3 million for the sheriff’s department for one year, but some board members wonder about the years after that.
Board Member Faye Lyon explains, “That means that all the feet he would put on the ground, as he calls it, he would have to let some of them go next year, because obviously we can’t refinance again.”
A tax increase would solve that, but the county board would have to approve putting it on the ballot, and board member Ted Biondo says that’s not happening.
He adds, “Taxpayers have had enough, so consequently we’re never gonna raise taxes. They’ll never be the support on that board.”
Now the board is discussing using part of that money to pay off some of the county’s debt, while keeping Stateliners satisfied.
Lyon says, “Raising taxes will drive more people from our community then the crime issue.”
The county board hopes to have a decision on within the next couple of weeks. Board members that spoke with Eyewitness News say raising taxes is something they hope to avoid.