Repairs to Boone Co. jail & courthouse on hold after failed referendum

BOONE COUNTY (WIFR) -- It's back to the drawing board in Boone County after voters failed to pass a referendum that would pay for repairs to the jail and courthouse.

Voters said no to increasing the county's sales tax by half a percent to 8.25 percent, the same as Rockford. The sheriff says the money is needed to fix a leaky roof and crumbling building, but at this point he says it's more important to keep deputies on the streets than make the needed repairs.

"Our staff has been cut so much over the years we're probably 10 or 12 guys down from the recommended staffing level, so it gets to a point if we're running with four to six guys, typically four guys that covers this entire county it's getting down to officer safety which is also a huge concern for us," Sheriff Dave Ernest, said.

The referendum failed by about 600 votes. The county can't put it back on the ballot until the primary next spring, which the sheriff says will likely happen.