By Bob Balgemann


BELVIDERE – For years, the Boone County Board has voted annually to rebate property taxes needed to pay off bonds sold in 2000 to built a new jail.

It wasn’t necessary to levy any taxes because voters in 1999 approved a half-penny increase in the local sales tax for the new jail. That public safety sales tax (PSST) generates well over the amount needed for the annual payment of about $580,000.

In concert with the annual rebate vote board members usually debate the scheduled sunsetting of the tax in 2018.

The last whereas of ordinance 15-08 reads: “…the bond payments will be satisfied in the year 2018 and at such time the county board hereby pledges to repeal the public safety sales tax …”

In past years the board, usually in a split vote, always has approved the ordinance with that paragraph. But not Wednesday (March 18). The board that night voted 8-4 to eliminate that paragraph, leaving open the possibility that the tax will be remain in effect after 2018.

Board Chairman Bob Walberg, who supported removing the paragraph, said he always had opposed it.

He pointed out the county is continuing to lose money. Among the new challenges are:

* The possibility that it will lose $900,000 in income tax money it annually receives from the state. That potential was mentioned by newly elected Gov. Bruce Rauner in his first budget address last month.

Most officials believe counties and municipalities will see reduced funding, but not as much as stated by Rauner.

* Being required to pay fees for those deemed to be indigent, when they are involved in a court action.

* Increased cost of men and women serving as jurors in the court system. The county was paying $12 a day for such service. Now the cost has been increased to $25 for the first day and $50 for each succeeding day.

Walberg said the PSST fund has $1.4 million in it, which would go a long way toward recouping those losses. Right now, he said, “If we made all the cuts the sheriff would lose all his deputies.”

Concerning the sunset year for the tax, he said, “This county board did not make that pledge. The last ‘whereas’ was added in 2002.”

Board member Paul Larson authored the motion to amend the ordinance and remove that paragraph, with the second provided by member Sherry Giesecke.

Before the vote, board member Kenny Freeman said county voters, not the board, would have to agree to removing that wording.

But Larson countered, “This is a decision for the board in 2018. Why should we tie their hands?

Board member Denny Ellingson wondered if the sunset question would automatically come before the board that was sitting in 2018? “No,” Walberg replied, “not unless that board or a board in the future brings it up.”

Freeman asked who put the sunset date in the ordinance in the first place?

“I was asked to do it by a board member,” County Administrator Ken Terrinoni answered. “That’s when the bonds expire.”

The ordinance amendment passed, 8-4. Then approval of the ordinance, as amended, was approved, 10-2.

Later, the board voted 11-1 to abate taxes for improvement to the courthouse.

Buy Viagra Overnight Delivery USA.