FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – Allen County Commissioner Nelson Peters wants Allen County Council members to consider an alternative income tax increase that would go to funding the future county jail.
Previously, the council voted down an income tax increase that would’ve funded the to-be-built jail.
Peters appeared during the public comment portion of council’s Thursday meeting.
“I’m here this morning to simply ask that you entertain another public hearing at a future date, that we may present an alternative proposal to you with a 2/10ths of 1 percent public safety local income tax increase, sometime likely in September,” Peters said. “Thank you.”
Due to a deteriorating and overcrowded facility located downtown, a federal judge last year ruled the jail’s conditions violated inmates’ constitutional rights. The judge’s ruling came as part of a class-action lawsuit filed by the Indiana ACLU on behalf of dozens of inmates.
A new jail is proposed to be built at 2911 Meyer Road at a cost of roughly $285 million dollars, but officials are now trying to find ways to fund the construction process.
A Jail LIT, or local income tax, previously proposed would’ve allowed the county to tax personal income at .2 percent. Municipalities have a range between .05% and .25% under state law, a tax outside the normal capped tax that allows entities to build correctional or rehabilitative facilities.
It is estimated that the tax would cost an extra $50 tax on an income tax of $100,000 and $100 on $200,000.
Council voted down that idea 4-2 last month.
Tom Harris, county council president, said at that time there would likely be another vote in 30 days, but that has not happened.
Meanwhile, the ACLU has filed a motion in federal court as part of the lawsuit asking to subpoena council members and question them about their decision to vote down the income tax increase.
A hearing on that motion is scheduled for Monday.