County board could vote on lower payments, add deputies to force - – Rockford’s News Leader

County board could vote on lower payments, add deputies to force


Winnebago County Board members are poised to make a big financial decision Thursday night.

The committee will decide whether to shuffle around millions of dollars to get the sheriff more money to fight crime.

"The crime that's happening in this community is out of control," said John Sweeney, R-16th District.

Sweeney said  is a self-described fiscal conservative.  He said he is ready to give the Winnebago County Sheriff millions of dollars more a year to fight crime.  The proposal is to refinance the bonds issued to build the County Justice Center to lower the yearly payments.  It's similar to something a homeowner would do with their mortgage.

"When you have someone trying to give their officers the tools and capabilities to be aggressive with the criminal element that we're all experiencing, we have to do everything we can do to help that," said Sweeney.  "We're going to try to do that without raising the taxes on anybody."

The lower bond payment will equate to $3 million more a year for the sheriff.  Some critics of the plan said extending the life of the loan will equal more interest over time.

"The good news is that the interest rates are so favorable that it really is worth the investment," said Scott Christiansen, the Winnebago County Chairman.

The county finance committee approved this proposal once this fall, but then other things took their time and attention away for it, such as union contracts.

"It's a big decision, so we want to take some time to really discuss it in committee and amongst ourselves," said Sweeney.  "We feel that now is the time we're ready to come forward with it and make a decision."

If the finance committee passes the proposal Thursday night.  It goes in front of the full board on Tuesday.  The money could be available to the sheriff as early as the first of the year.

Powered by Frankly