Tax increase sought to replace old, moldy buildings

Your health and safety may cost you a few extra dollars. A local county is proposing a 1 percent sales tax increase just one year after a previous effort failed.

When many people think of Johnson County, Illinois, government they might think of the beautiful 150-year-old courthouse. The problem, according to Johnson County Sheriff Charles Harner, is that the old courthouse doesn’t hold much these days.

"We’ve outgrown the space that we’ve got to bring them up to ADA regulations," said Harner.

After outgrowing their space at the courthouse decades ago, many government offices moved across the street.

In January, inspectors discovered the entire annex building is full of mold.

"There have been health concerns, and there has been staff that presented with health issues," said Risk Management officer Faith Haney.

Haney says machines have been brought in to try and clear the air. "Safety and health is our number one priority," she said.

Haney and Harner only see one long-term solution. "The mold needs to be cleaned up, but we’re in buildings of pretty serious disrepair," said Haney.

"Something needs to be done,” said Harner. “We need to get something situated for the future. These are old buildings."

Johnson County voters will decide on the sales tax increase at Tuesday’s election.

In the meantime, air quality experts are going to the  building Thursday to see if the air cleaner has improved conditions.

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