ANDERSON – It’s time for members of the criminal justice system to get a local income tax increase to fund operations.
Over the next week and more, elected members of the Madison County Towns and Towns Council will determine the fate of a proposed local income tax increase for public safety.
A 0.3% increase in the public safety tax would bring in about $ 8 million which would be shared among the county, towns and villages.
That would mean an additional $ 3 million for the county. It would provide $ 1.5 million to the criminal justice system starting in 2022 and funds to secure the estimated $ 86 million needed to build a new prison.
The town of Pendleton approved the increase earlier this month, but another meeting is scheduled for October 27.
Pendleton Town prosecutor Jeff Graham said Monday there were questions related to the first vote.
“After the first vote in Pendleton, there were concerns that notices of adoption of the resolution would not be sent to every tax unit.”
He said the second meeting will be to clarify the unanimous vote of Pendleton City Council.
To take effect in 2022, the Madison County Tax Board must approve the increase by the end of October.
Tax council votes for county council, towns and villages are based on population. The passage requires a majority vote.
Madison County Council last week voted 4 to 3 not to apply the tax, meaning Anderson City Council has the crucial decision with 42.65 votes on the tax council.
Andrew Hanna, deputy chief of the Madison County district attorney’s office, said the second vote in Pendleton would not affect the tax implementation timeline.
“There was a question about sending the adoption notice to all other towns and villages,” he said. “I still believe Pendleton’s vote is legal and effective.”
The six Madison County Judges, District Attorney, Chief Public Defender and Sheriff all spoke about how the criminal justice system is dealing with the funding shortfall.
“We are the most underfunded system in the state,” Attorney Rodney Cummings said earlier this month. “It’s about improving the quality of life in the community”
He said the lack of funding and resources has a direct effect on the type of crimes committed in Madison County.
Sheriff Scott Mellinger said the tax was for public safety.
“It will make the community safer. “
He said those responsible for the criminal justice system would work in a cooperative effort to spend the funds to reduce layoffs and operate more efficiently.
Follow Ken de la Bastide on Twitter @KendelaBastide, or call 765-640-4863.