Cass County officials will hold a special meeting next week to determine how to fund a jail expansion, which may result in a tax increase for county residents.
George Stebbins, president of the Cass County Council, said council members will consider creating a jail tax with a rate of up to 0.2 on top of taxes already in place. He described it as an additional 20 cents for every $100 of residents' income.
Stebbins said another option would be to offset the additional funds needed for the jail by lowering the county's economic development income tax, resulting in no overall increase on residents' taxes.
"We could live on it," Stebbins said of the second option. "With the budget we passed for next year, we'd still be OK."
His desire is to go the second route.
"My preference is to not raise taxes," Stebbins said, adding he's tired of Cass County being in the top 10 for highest taxes in Indiana.
The council will meet at 9 a.m. Monday, Oct. 29 in the Commissioners Hearing Room on the second floor of the Cass County Government Building, 200 Court Park. Whatever's decided would go into effect next year, Stebbins said.
He said the last estimate officials received on the cost of the jail expansion was $16.8 million. It would add about 140 beds and a separate area for juvenile offenders, Stebbins added.
The jail, located at 100 Court Park in downtown Logansport, will expand northward into the facility's parking lot. Lost parking space will be made up across High Street from the jail on land the county owns.
Jail overcrowding has been an issue for county officials over the past several years, ever since the Indiana General Assembly's criminal sentencing reform in 2014 started diverting low-level offenders from state prisons to local jails.