A group of Adams County residents and local law enforcement officials are rallying to get residents behind a referendum that would increase the county sales tax in order to build a new county jail.
After years of pushing for changes, jail officials hope voters will approve a tax increase in April. Supporters of the plan, the group Citizens for a New County Jail, held the first of several town hall forums Wednesday night at John Wood Community College.
The referendum would increase county sales tax by a quarter of a cent to pay for the new jail. Officials say safety and security for both inmates and sheriff's deputies has been an on-going concern. Supporters of the referendum have tried three times over the past decade to bring in funds to build a new jail, but the cost keeps going up, from $10 million in 2003 to $25 million this year.
While the committee is working to convince residents to support the referendum, the turnout at Wednesday's forum was noticeably low.
"You would hope there would be a little more interest than what appeared this evening," Adams County Jail Committee Chairman Mark Peter said. "All we can do is get the information out. I think people are becoming quite aware of our situation and the fact that there will be a vote."
Below are the upcoming forums:
March 15 - Central High School, Camp Point, 2 p.m.
March 19 - Quincy Salvation Army Ray & Joan Kroc Corps Community Center, Quincy, 7 p.m.
March 22 - Payson Elementary, Payson, 2 p.m.
March 29 - Unity High School, Mendon, 2 p.m.