CAMBRIDGE - Henry County board members were reminded Thursday of a one-half percent sales tax for public safety on the March 18 ballot.
Finance committee member Jerry Thompson said that, as a board member, he only could present facts and not voice an opinion. But he noted the sheriff's department budget has increased considerably.
The department's budget was $4.6 million in 2010; this year it is $5.3 million, with four fewer staff members.
The referendum seeks to add .5 percent to sales tax in Henry County which currently ranges from 7.25 percent to 7.75 percent, depending upon the community. It's projected the tax will raise $1.7 million in revenue for public safety in Henry County.
Mr. Thompson said the state hasn't increased funding for courthouse security for more than 20 years, although pending legislation would address it. He also cited other needs, such as deputies, squad cars and moving the 911 dispatch into the courthouse basement.
Also on Thursday, board members heard the county's revision of the Chief Elected Officials agreement for Workforce Investment Act has been submitted to the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, as well as Rock Island and Mercer counties, Henry County's partners in the program.
A new agreement was on Thursday's county board agenda, but the deadline for the revised agreement has been extended until May 1 to allow more time for discussion. County board members are expected to have a draft agreement next month.
"It's moving. We're glad to see it's moving," said board chairman Tim Wells.
Disgruntled agency employees prompted an audit last summer that resulted in Rock Island County paying $15,400 to the state. State officials later concluded the three-county agreement should be updated.
In January, Mr. Wells said Henry County was exploring an affiliation with either the Bureau/LaSalle counties or the Stark/Peoria counties workforce regions. The current effort, however, focuses on changes within the Henry-Mercer-Rock Island region.
Board members on Thursday also heard the Henry County Veterans' Commission will mark its 20th anniversary with a picnic in Atkinson this July. Superintendent Dan Swanson said cuts in the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program have led to more need for food assistance for some veterans.
The commission now has 41 active files for financial assistance, he said. It transported 687 veterans to the VA Hospital in Iowa City last year with volunteer driver hours totaling 1,997.
Mr. Swanson said he looking for more volunteer drivers, noting some of the current 14 drivers are farmers who must cut back in the spring and fall.
Board members also heard the May 15 meeting may be in the Colona school gym and a school government class may attend the meeting. Members also approved bids of $107,352 from Truck Country of Davenport for a tandem dump truck; $189,875 from Martin Equipment of IA-IL in Rock Island for a 2014 John Deere endloader; and $79,640 from Curnyn Construction of Geneseo for a Hanna Road District box culvert drainage project.
Today is Tuesday, July 29, the 210th day of 2014. There are 155 days left in the year.
1864 -- 150 years ago: Col. H.F. Sickless informs us that there will be new organization of troops in this state under the call for more men. 1889 -- 125 years ago: James Normoyle arrived home after graduating from West Point with honors in the class of 1889. He was to report to Fort Brady, Mich., as second lieutenant in the 23rd Infantry. 1914 -- 100 years ago: Austria Hungary declared war on Serbia. Germany and Austria refused an invitation of Sir Edward Grey to join Great Britain at a mediation conference. 1939 -- 75 years ago: Dr. William Mayo, the last of the three famous Mayo brother surgeons, died at the age of 78. 1964 -- 50 years ago: One of the biggest horse shows of the season was held yesterday at Hillandale Arena on Knoxville Road under the sponsorship of the Illowa Horsemen's Club. 1989 -- 25 years ago: Davenport is like a gigantic carnival this weekend with the Bix Arts Fest taking over 12 square blocks of the downtown area. A festive atmosphere prevailed Friday as thousands of people turned out to sample what the Arts Fest has to offer.