Increase in income tax rate will fund expansion of Cass County jail

Cass County residents will see their income tax rate increase by .1 percent to fund an expansion of the Cass County Jail. According to Ordinance 2018-09, it would become effective Jan. 1, 2019.

The Cass County Council held a special meeting Monday morning, during which a public hearing regarding the correctional and rehabilitation facilities tax was held.

Following a citizen’s request during the meeting for more information about the proposal, Sheriff Randy Pryor outlined the need for a 150 bed expansion. He says a first phase adding 18 beds is already in the works. Pryor said more than 200 people were housed at the Cass County jail Monday.

A public hearing notice ran in the Pharos-Tribune on Oct. 19.

(Editor’s note: the meeting notice we received stated there would be a special meeting but did not use the wording “public hearing.” See the notice we received here.)

After the public hearing, the county council members opted to implement the jail tax at a rate of .2 percent but to cut the county economic development income tax rate from .25 percent to .15 percent.

The City of Logansport, which received more than $750,000 in CEDIT funds last year, adopted its 2019 budget earlier this month. City officials did not attend the meeting and said they were not aware of the proposal to cut the CEDIT tax rate.

At their meeting on November 5, the Logansport City Council is expected to consider economic development incentives totaling $200,000 in CEDIT for two new grocery stores in Logansport.

During the county council meeting, council president George Stebbins expressed frustration several times about funds being allocated by elected officials for projects of the hospital, the Y and the Memorial Home. 

Stebbins said that for someone making $40,000 annually, the .2 percent tax to fund the jail expansion would equate to about $80. Because of the cut to the CEDIT tax rate, the actual increase to taxpayers would be .1 percent, or half of that.