North Vernon officials are working to salvage a plan for a new Jennings County Jail facility, while at the same time, improving relationships with county officials. During Monday night’s meeting of the city council, Councilman Brian Hatfield announced that the city will lower its asking price for 15 acres it owns in the North Vernon industrial park. County officials were eying the property as a potential site for the new jail. However, the county balked at paying the one-million dollar asking price. Hatfield noted that exactly how much lower the price will be isn’t yet known, as the city’s tax-increment financing board still needs to be consulted.
City Councilman Jack Kelley says that this measure is being taken in good faith to benefit both units of government. He added that the city council is concerned with a proposal by the county that would lower its TIF district revenue by $290,000 per year. Council members expressed hope that the county will work with them to not only get the jail built, but to keep city TIF revenues untouched.
City Councilman Trent Wisner echoed the sentiments of Hatfield and Kelley. He says that these projected TIF revenues are critical to a number of city projects. Specifically, Wisner mentioned renovations at the city park and public safety issues.
There’s been no word from Jennings County officials if they are open to working with the city to address these issues.