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Johnson County residents face income tax hike

Additional revenue would fund jail expansion
Posted at 11:35 AM, Jun 12, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-12 11:52:49-04

FRANKLIN—A proposal to expand the Johnson County Jail in Franklin will by costly to residents.

The county council has given preliminary approval to a 20 percent increase in the county income tax, to fund a project costing up to $25 million dollars.

A final vote is likely at a June 21 public hearing and the additional tax would be collected starting in October.

Overcrowding at the existing jail has been an issue for years and the county is under a state mandate to do something about it.

Johnson County Sheriff Duane Burgess calls the jail expansion a "necessity" that's been needed as the county's population grows.

"I don't want to throw a tax rate on citizens, but this is the only option we have now," said Burgess.

The sheriff also points to a change in state law that keeps more lower-level felons in county jails, rather than state prisons.

In 2010, Johnson County voters rejected a property tax increase to fund jail expansion beyond the current 322 beds.

So now, the county is turning to the one percent tax residents pay on their income.

The income tax would rise to 1.2 percent to pay for a 250 bed building that would connect to the existing jail.

For a person making $75,000 per-year, the increase comes to about $150.

Social Security income is not taxed.

Sheriff Burgess says construction of the new building will take about two years.