Madison County Fiscal Court votes to raise property tax to pay for new jail

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RICHMOND, Ky. (WKYT) - The Madison County Fiscal Court has voted in favor of a property tax increase in order to fund a new jail.

Magistrates passed the resolution 4-1. It will raise property taxes by 11 cents for every $100.

The county is looking to build a new jail, as the current Madison County Detention Center holds more than 400 inmates while only having 184 beds. Jailer Steve Tussey said he would cap the number of inmates at 450 after originally capping capacity at 400.

The new jail would be an expansion onto the existing property.

Jail officials told WKYT in September they have already begun working with an architect, while they waited for the fiscal court to make a decision.

The new jail would cost an estimated $45 million. So many people attended the Madison County Fiscal County meeting, overflow seating had to be set up outside.

The majority say they understand that a new jail is needed, but are not happy with the property tax hike they will see on their bills. Many said they would have been in favor of an increase, but not this much.

Others, like a correctional officer that spoke, asked the community to be on board. The officer says in his career with the jail he has been assaulted 36 times. He says with updated equipment, many of those assaults could have been avoidable.

"That is my tool and I need it to function. Old tools or handed down tools don't function for me."

Minutes after the proposal passed, those against began organizing a petition.

According to officials, they would need approximately 3,762 signatures to get the tax put to a vote in November of 2020 -- likely prolonging the jail expansion.

This would be the first tax raise for the county since 1966.

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