Henry County Sheriff asks community to pass public safety sales tax

CAMBRIDGE, Illinois - Running on minimum staff and in sometimes dangerous situations the people who protect Henry County are in need of some help.

"We're asking for a half-a-cent sales tax, which doing the math, if you spend $100 it would be an extra 50 cents," said Sheriff Jim Padilla.

That small amount in sales tax could help save staff.

"There's some nights that we might only have 2 deputies patrolling all 827 square miles of Henry County," said Detective Joe Bedford.

It could also help them replace their old, rusty cars.

"I know we have at least 10 squad cars that have well over 100,000 miles on them those need to be replaced," said Padilla.

Without the tax, cuts would have to be made, starting with the jail.

"That trickle down effect would then pull those patrol guys in and we're going to be very short on staff, people could be waiting for, I don't know how long for someone to respond to an emergency call," said Padilla.

This small tax would be paid by anyone shopping in Henry County and would exclude some larger purchases.

"What are excluded are medications, groceries, titled vehicles," said Padilla.

If the tax doesn't pass, the sheriff said you'll see fewer patrol cars out on the road.

"If we do lose staff I'm very concerned about that, I'm not sure how we would adjust to that, how we would continue to provide services that we do provide," said Padilla.