Income tax rate hike proposed for Vanderburgh County residents to fund jail expansion

Income tax rate hike proposed for Vanderburgh County residents to fund jail expansion

VANDERBURGH CO., IN (WFIE) - A new proposal is in place and if you work in Vanderburgh County, you could be facing an income tax rate hike.

County leaders want to use the extra revenue to pay for a jail expansion.

Vanderburgh Sheriff Dave Wedding says the detention center is overcrowded and has been for some time.

Vanderburgh County Commissioners want to add 250 cells to the Vanderburgh County Jail.

An expansion of that size would cost between $20-25 million dollars.

To pay for that expansion, there's a proposed income tax rate hike of 1% to 1.25% for the people who work in Vanderburgh County.

The proposal by the Vanderburgh County Commissioners, now goes to state legislators for approval.

County Commissioner Bruce Ungethiem told 14 NEWS that over 10 counties in Indiana already use local income tax to fund jail expansions.

If state legislators approve the proposal, the Vanderburgh County Council and Evansville City Council would vote on the measure.

County Commissioner Bruce Ungethiem said officials don't know yet how much this income tax rate hike would cost people who work in Vanderburgh County.

Ungethiem said if the measures passes, it wouldn't be in place forever.

Several 14 News viewers asked why people who don't go to jail, need to be responsible for financing a jail expansion?

" By state statute, Vanderburgh County is responsible for providing jail services for the county.  At this point in time, our jail is not adequate to hold people that are incarcerated.  By state statute, we must expand the jail to fit the needs of our community," said Bruce Ungethiem.

"If you earn an income in Vanderburgh County, this would affect you.  We've got an overcrowding issue in the jail.  There are over 100 people with outstanding warrants in Vanderburgh County.  If we find those people, and we bring them in, we've got no place to put them."

Evansville's Deputy Mayor sent 14News this statement in regards to the proposal by County Commissioners;

"Last week, the county commissioners met with Mayor Winnecke to propose the concept.  However, the legislative proposal has apparently changed.  It is important that discussions with city council members take place to determine potential impacts on city residents before proceeding with state legislation."

Copyright 2017 WFIE. All rights reserved. 

Copyright 2017 WFIE. All rights reserved.