Two chances to hear about public safety tax


PARIS, Ill. (WCIA) — Edgar County voters have two chances to learn more about a proposed public safety tax that’s in their hands this election.

In December, county board members approved putting a 1-percent sales tax question on the March 17 ballot — a move aimed at fixing longstanding issues with the county jail.

The Edgar County Jail has been closed since December 1; the Illinois Counties Risk Management Trust informed the county in September that it would no longer insure the jail after years of safety, staffing and cleanliness issues had gone uncorrected.

County board president Jeff Voigt has said in previous interviews with WCIA that the facility is in need of significant renovations — a part of the reason why it is now closed. He said code requirements from the Illinois Department of Corrections have made it difficult for older portions of the building to remain in compliance.

It’s not just facility conditions: The ICMR report detailed staffing and training issues as part of the problem with the jail’s daily operations, as well.

Either way, more money would help.

If the public safety tax is approved, the money would not only be eligible to go toward building repairs, but also fund additional staffing — as long as the money was used by the Edgar County Sherriff’s Office for public safety-related matters, it could be used for anything along those lines.

The two meetings will be in the community room of Prospect Bank in Paris.

One meeting is scheduled for Thursday, February 20 at 5 p.m.; the other is scheduled for Monday, March 2 at 7 p.m.

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