Council approves CEDIT increase for jail construction

KNOX — The Starke County Council voted 5-1 to approve the 0.65 percent additional County Economic Development Income Tax (CEDIT) for construction of a new jail. Following Council approval of funding, the Starke County Commissioners approved a request from Skillman Corp. and DLZ to proceed with the design phase of the project.
Councilman Marvin McLaughlin said, “We have to have a new jail. Either we have it, or the Federal Government will tell us when, how and what we’ll do. There will always be a group that opposes building, and I’m concerned that they will question the amount of the increase.”
Jason Semler, Umbaugh & Associates, said, “The 0.65 percent will give what’s needed to cover the debt service and offset operating costs; any excess could be used to pay off the debt early, or it could also be used if income unexpectedly goes down.”
The 2012 Indiana General Assembly allowed the County to establish the additional 0.65 percent income tax, which results in an estimated annual increase of $130 per year for $20,000 of State taxable income.
County Attorney Martin Lucas will work with the courts to approve adoption of the plan to avoid any further lawsuits.
Scott Cherry, project manager with Skillman Corp., and Scott Carnegie, architect with DLZ, presented the request to proceed with design that was approved by the County Commissioners. A schematic design estimate will be presented for approval in mid-October, before proceeding with the design/development phase.
The next critical step is selection of a site for the new jail, which has not yet been determined.