Decatur County park budget squeezed, residents brace for tax hike

Greensburg, In. — Decatur County council members have passed an ordinance on the first reading that would add a special jail tax, public safety local income tax and increase the certified shares(CAGIT, COIT & CEDIT or EDIT).

By a 4-2 vote council members approved a .5 percent increase for the new jail tax. Representatives from jail architect, Umbaugh & Associates say the tax will support a jail project of just over $20 million on the existing site. It’s estimated the impact on the average taxpayer would be about $280 per year. Twenty-two of 92 counties in Indiana have a jail tax. Council members did point out the tax could be lowered in the future.

Council members unanimously approved a .25 percent public safety tax. The tax would be used for courthouse security, EMS, fire and a full-time Decatur County Emergency Management Agency director. The council also approved an increase in certified shares from 1.33 percent to 2.35 percent. Both taxes take effect January 1, 2018.

The Decatur County Parks and Recreation Board briefly considered a food and beverage tax to fill a budget hole in 2018. Decatur County council members have asked the department to cut $30,000 from the budget and department leaders say they are unable to. After discussion, council members restored the 2018 budget figure to $579,000 from the original figure of $537,000.