(SALEM) - Washington County taxpayers may soon have to pay a public safety income tax, which would raise money to help cover costs of operating the new jail as well as other purposes related to public safety.
The Leader Democrat reports, for those who pay property taxes, that would be offset; at least in part; by property tax credits.
According to Washington Council President David Hoar, the tax rate could be set at .25 percent up to 1 percent. All residents in the county would be assessed this tax on income. According to his figures, if the tax was set at .25 percent, it would generate $900,000 annually. Of that, $650,000 would go to the county's general fund; the remaining $250,000 would be distributed to other taxing entities in the county, including Salem, Pekin, Campbellsburg and local fire departments.
Councilman Jonathan Spaulding said because of the county's county's bleak financial picture and adding the cost of operating the new jail will add to the burden and he didn't see any alternative but to raise taxes.
Clark said that the money generated by the local option income tax won't cover the entire cost of operating the jail, which he estimated at over $1 million. He also mentioned that income from the tax could be used for many things related to public safety, not just operating the jail like: the probation department, care of patients and inmates and the contract for ambulance service.
Clark explained that one decision facing the council is who will benefit from property tax credits, whether it should apply to everyone -home owners, farmers and commercial properties - or restricted, such as limited to those qualifying for homestead credits.
The council will hold a public hearing at 11 a.m. Monday, Aug. 5, which is the date of their regular monthly meeting.
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