SPRING VALLEY — The Spring Valley City Council heard a presentation on Bureau County’s public safety sales tax referendum during Monday night’s meeting.
Bureau County Sheriff James Reed and Henry Pittner, architect, provided information in regard to the need of a new law enforcement center as well as an explanation of the referendum.
Reed showed pictures of the existing jail and explained how the building is dangerous and unsafe as well as the fact it doesn’t meet compliance codes.
County Board Member Mary Jane Marini said, “We want our employees to be safe and secure, but right now they aren’t.”
Reed said that currently 18 inmates from Bureau County are being housed in LaSalle County due to the lack of space at the Bureau County Jail. It costs a discounted rate of $30 a day per inmate. Reed explained this will cost $11,000 a year, in addition to the costs to transport those inmates back and forth.
The county voted to purchase the Bureau County Republican building in January 2018 for $725,000, using the funds that came from the sale of the Prairie View Nursing Home.
The Nov. 6 referendum is for a new half-percent public safety tax. The tax has a sunset of 20 or fewer years, and the tax does not include vehicles, farm vehicles, groceries, prescription and nonprescription medications, medical devices or medical materials.
“If you spend $100 a week on retail items for a total of $5,200 a year, then tax would cost you $26 a year,” Reed said.
After the presentation ended, Mayor Walt Marini said, “I would encourage everyone to get out and vote and to vote ‘yes’ for this referendum. It’s needed.”
In other news:
• The council recognized Barb White with a plaque for her time at the library. White was employed there for 23 years with 20 years as library director.
• Expenses for the IML conference were approved for Mayor Marini, Economic Director Debb Ladgenski, and City Attorney Jim Andreoni.
• The decorative paver project on St. Paul Street was tabled until the board is able to discuss the project with each of the contractors that bid on the project. The aldermen questioned whether the project should be completed as it was bid, or if only four pavers should be completed.
Marini said: “We have to make the town look better. We need to do something with our downtown. The pavers will bring continuity with the mini park. We can’t leave it as is.”
• Superintendent of Public Works Jeff Norton said flushing of water mains will commence on Monday, Oct. 15 and will continue through Friday, Oct. 26.
• The annual Lions Club Halloween parade was approved for 1 p.m. Oct. 27 on West St. Paul Street to the mini park, and the annual Lighted Santa Parade was approved for 6 p.m. Nov. 24.
• The council approved a donation of $300 to the Santas on the Run 5K to benefit the Hall Township Food Pantry.
• The Streets and Alleys, Water and Sewer, and Finance committees will meet at 6:30 p.m. Oct. 18.
• The next regularly scheduled meeting will be at 7 p.m. Oct. 22 in the Council Chambers.