Mallory Herrmann

As the Jackson County legislature moves forward with an increase in property taxes, a timeline for the jail that the extra funds will pay for is coming into focus.

Ed Stoll, chief administrative officer, told legislators that with the reversal of past property tax reductions in 2018, site identification for the new county jail could begin in the first half of 2019.

Chairman Scott Burnett noted that acquiring land once a site is identified could take up to two or three years with negotiations, environmental reviews, and other steps – pushing construction all the way back to December 2022. Stoll said that such a delay could be possible, noting that projects this large often see various hurdles and complications on the way to completion, but that the hope is for a speedier process.

The 2018 property tax levies were adopted by the legislature at their Sept. 24 meeting, with a reversal of past voluntary reductions in property tax levies for the general, health, park, and road and bridge funds. The move is expected to generate an additional $19.5 million this year, with property owners expected to pay an additional $38.65 per $100,000 in market value.

Stoll recommended that the county adopt a Countywide Performance and Accountability System that would incorporate a capital improvement plan (and a capital improvement fund) prior to the end of 2018 to facilitate the “most efficient and appropriate use of such additional revenue.” In addition to the jail, the legislature has identified other county facility improvements and upgrades, including to fire suppression systems, elevators, and department software, to benefit from these revenues.

The levies were approved with a unanimous vote. Legislator Greg Grounds was absent. The legislature will meet again on Monday, Oct. 1, at the downtown legislative chambers.