Rock Island County Sheriff urges voters to pass sales tax referendum

Sheriff Gerry Bustos, county leaders to hold town hall meetings on issue

By Gretta Patrick | gpatrick@whbf.com

Published 09/27 2016 06:13PM

Updated 09/27 2016 06:13PM

Rock Island County leaders are going all out on their version of a full-court press. They made their latest push today to convince voters to authorize a sales tax hike.
 
"The half a penny will keep us moving forward," said Ken "Moose" Maranda, the Rock Island County Board Chairman. 
 
The county board put a referendum on the ballot that would raise sales tax a half cent. That money would go to all the operations within the Rock Island County Sheriff's Department.
 
"We ask that you vote yes on this referendum. This referendum will prevent potential layoffs of deputies, correctional officers, dispatchers, maintenance staff, and many other key personnel that you see standing with us here today," said Rock Island County Sheriff Gerry Bustos. 
 
This tax increase would mean for every $10 spent, consumers would pay an extra $0.05. 
 
Judge Walter D. Braud is the chief judge for Rock Island County. He's afraid of what the consequences will be if voters don't pass the measure.
 
"We will not have the deputies at the door or the baliffs at the door," Braud said. 
 
Raising sales tax in Rock Island County could not only put millions of dollars into the County Sheriff's budget, it could also help offset a recent raise in property taxes.
 
"Rock Island County only relies on property taxes to fund most of the county, mainly the sheriff's office. This referendum will take a large part of that burden away from those property owners," Bustos said. 
 
Maranda says voters have been reluctant to pass a sales tax measure in the past.
 
"Nobody wants to, but if they just knew how to connect the dots the services that's offered, and what may not be offered," Maranda said. 
 
The public safety referendum is one of two sales tax increases on the November 8 ballot. Rock Island County school's sales tax referendum will also be up to voters. 
 
Rock Island County leaders will host three more town hall meetings before the election to try to win support for the sales tax increase. 
 
Dates and times are as follows: 
 
October 5 at the St. John's Lutheran Church in Rock Island: 4501 7th Ave. 6:30 p.m.
 
October 20 at the Andalusia Fire Station: 221 1st St., Andalusia. 6:30 p.m.
 
October 26 at the Rapids City Village Hall: 1204 4th Avenue, Rapids City. 6:30 p.m.

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