A change in state law that allows counties to retain a portion of local income taxes to dedicate to their jails will likely be taken advantage of by the Bartholomew County Council.
The change, allows counties take up to 0.2 percent of the LIT and apply it towards jail needs. If the county council approves the maximum amount, the change will take effect in 2019 and is expected to allow the county to keep an estimated $2.7 million per year. This would reduce the distribution to other taxing units in the county, with the city of Columbus taking the biggest hit of approximately $2.4 million per year.
Mary Ferdon, Columbus’ director of administration, offered the following statement on Friday afternoon:
“Over the past 2.5 years, Mayor Lienhoop and city officials have been fortunate to partner with Bartholomew County officials on a wide variety of issues including law enforcement, code enforcement, Dispatch and emergency services, ambulance services, the overpass and relate railroad issues, and the substance abuse crisis.
The need for funding for the County jail facility is real and counties all over Indiana are dealing with similar issues around overcrowding and opioid related problems.
Our goal is to work with Bartholomew County officials on how redistribution of these Local Income Tax (LIT) funds can be done which both addresses the need of the jail, while still allowing the city of Columbus and Bartholomew County to move forward on projects which use LIT dollars – many of which benefit residents throughout the community , not just city residents.”