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Vigo County Council Approves Local Tax Increase To Fund New County Jail

After nearly two hours of public comment, the council approved the tax increase initially proposed by a 5 to 2 vote. (Alex Eady, WFIU/WTIU News)

The Vigo County Council voted Tuesday night to raise the local income tax by 0.75 percent.

The tax has fueled months of controversy as the county debated ways to help fund a new county jail.

After nearly two hours of public comment, the council considered a number of amendments before approving the tax increase as initially proposed by a 5 - 2 vote.

Aaron Loudermilk, Vicki Weger, Bill Thomas, Tim Curley, and Mike Morris voted for the increase. Council members Brendan Kearns and Jim Mann opposed the increase.

Mann offered an amendment that would lower the proposed increase. He says he feels the 0.75 is too much for the community to sustain right now.

“I felt like in the best interest of striking that balance we could’ve adopted a lower number, and when the amendment failed and this became the other option I was not comfortable with supporting it," says Mann.

The tax hike will be divided between three areas:

  • 0.25 percent will go to a “special purpose rate,” which will finance construction of the new jail and potential demolition of the old site.
  • 0.2 percent will be dedicated to funding for county correctional or rehabilitation facilities.
  • 0.3 percent is for the county’s general expenditure rate. That includes a portion that will go toward funding for the county’s public safety access point, amounting to 0.1 percent.

The proposal states that all additional revenue will contribute to funding for public safety.

While the general expenditure rate was 1.25 percent prior to this proposal, the remaining three rates were not collected at all. The new total income tax for the county will be 2 percent, effective January 2019.

Mann says the county council will continue to involve the community as they move forward with finalizing plans for the new county jail.

A consulting firm estimates the proposed 527 bed jail will cost about $66-million.

Vigo Co income tax proposal by Indiana Public Media News on Scribd

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