Belvidere & Boone County Safety Building Referendum

On Election Day Boone County voters are being asked to support their local law enforcement offices by granting them a new building. Police Chief Jan Noble says "We simply have run out of room as you will see on the tour I'm about to share with you this morning."

The Belvidere Police Department doesn't mind sharing their building with the Boone County Sheriff's Office, but space is quickly becoming scarce for everyone. That's why Boone County voters are being asked to support a safety building referendum this November.

We spoke with several voters. Mary Honchell supports the Referendum, "I think it's a good idea the buildings are old and probably overcrowded and I think it's important that we keep things maintained well in our community." Terry Schultz does not, "There's other issues that aren't being brought up and I feel the building should be completely moved somewhere outside of downtown Belvidere."

Right now the 11 by 14 foot drug office is being shared by two men. The break room has been converted into a sergeant's office. City police must pass through the county jail to get to their evidence room. Many vital computer systems could fail if pipes above them start to leak. And the 911 command center is dangerously vulnerable to bad guys. Officers say a new building would fix all these problems, but first Boone County must pass the referendum.

Boone County Board Chairwoman Cathy Ward says, "It's not taxing your essentials like groceries or pharmacies or titled vehicles, but people who come to our county like you folks, people who visit us on the oasis will help us pay between fifteen and twenty percent of these costs."

Upon passing, the referendum would impose a half-cent sales tax that would expire when the building is paid for. The 39,000 square foot building is expected to cost 13.5 million dollars.

The referendum failed to pass in the spring. Chief Noble says he thinks it failed initially because there was no termination on the half cent tax after the building was paid for...a problem he says has now been fixed.

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