Funding for courthouse renovations could happen with little change to taxes
Funding for the courthouse renovations or removal could happen with little change to county taxes.
County officials have met several times to discuss the future of the courthouse and the problem has always been how to fund the project. The county commissioners and council members have been challenged with trying to find funding in the current budget to pay for repairs such as a lift station, let alone a building renovation.
State Rep. Doug Gutwein has been following the issue. Gutwein, who has attended several meetings including the meetings regarding the future of the courthouse, said fixing the courthouse was going to mean a tax increase for Pulaski County and that’s not what residents want. He began talking with state officials and it was determined that the special purpose tax that funds the operating costs for the jail is about to expire in December of 2020.
The special purpose justice center tax that expires in 2020 pays about $713,000 annually to the operations of the jail. That funding does not pay for the jail lease-rental bond.
For the county to obtain the special purpose tax, the county would have to commit to the courthouse project. The taxes cannot be collected unless the county moves forward with one option of the project. There are two steps in order for the county to continue to receive the special purpose tax. State legislation must approve it first.
Gutwein would like to see the special purpose tax to be for 15 years and it would be the same rate as the current tax that is paying for the jail operations.
He said the special purpose tax could be approved next year.