FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) A plan to build a new Allen County Jail could result in higher taxes. At a public hearing Wednesday evening to explain the proposed increase to the local income tax, Allen County Council was met with strong opposition from residents.
The proposed jail would be built in the 2900 block of Meyer Road. It would replace the jail currently located on prime real estate in downtown Fort Wayne. The effort to build a new jail is in response to a ruling by a federal judge in March of 2022 that conditions at the jail were inhumane due to overcrowding and deteriorating conditions.
How the new jail will be paid for has yet to be finalized. Bonding for the new jail could amount to between $250 million to $275 million, but that bonding amount could be reduced if the county uses the cash it has on hand. There’s about $50 million in county coffers and according to Allen County officials, county commissioners could tap into about $25 million. On top of that is the income tax hike proposal.
Right now, the local income tax in Allen County is 1.48% covering four categories. Under the proposal, a fifth would be added called “correctional or rehabilitation facilities.” It would increase the county income tax by up to 0.2%.
“0.2 is the maximum amount allowed in the community and under this particular local income tax, and so that’s a number that we’re looking at to be able to pay for what will ultimately be a bond that would pay for the jail,” said 2nd district County Councilman Thomas Harris.
“If we got that tax in the next, in the coming months, if we decided to do that, then it will stay around for 22 to 23 years,” added 3rd district County Councilman Paul Lagemann.
Allen County Council could vote on the plan at its next meeting on June 15th.