The Bartholomew County Council approved a proposition Tuesday night that would raise income tax to allow the county jail to hire additional staff.
After long deliberation, the seven-member council passed the proposal with a 4-3 majority vote.
If approved again after a second reading in October, the county income tax will increase to 1.75 percent, up from the current rate of 1.25 percent.
The additional tax revenue would allow Bartholomew County Sheriff Matt Myers to hire new deputies to staff the jail.
Myers says five new deputies would help ease the staffing burden.
“With additional transports getting to and from courts and prisons, and it will also help with getting some additional staffing into the cell blocks to reduce some of the instances we’ve been seeing,” Myers says.
Myers says a recent change in state law means dozens of people that would have previously gone to the state Department of Corrections are now being housed at the county level, contributing to an ongoing overcrowding problem.
Additional tax revenue would also allow the Sheriff to re-open an unused section of the jail to house additional inmates.