Madison Co. jail expansion and healing center put on hold

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MADISON COUNTY, Ky. (WTVQ)- Plans for a healing center and jail expansion have been scrapped less than two weeks after a proposed plan to build and finance each was presented during a special called fiscal court meeting on July 12.

The Richmond Register reports that during a packed regular meeting Tuesday, Judge/Executive Reagan Taylor announced that that those plans have come to a halt.

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The decision comes after public outcry regarding the proposed funding solution: a 10 percent (maximum) local government premium tax (LGPT), otherwise known as an insurance tax, which would have allowed the county to collect a percentage of insurance premiums, including: fire and allied perils, casualty liability, vehicle, inland marine, health, life and other.

Though many other counties and cities already collect the tax, including Richmond and Berea, at 8 and 6 percent respectively, many citizens of the county were not having it.

Shortly after the special called meeting announcing the plan was held, community members took to social media voicing their opinion of the tax, the fiscal court and of Taylor, as well as sharing a snapshot of a slide from the meeting which warned of programs that could be looked at for reduction/elimination of services should the county’s budget continue to hemorrhage from funneling money into incarcerations for, often, drug-related offenders.

On Tuesday, Taylor said that during the previous work session, the two largest financial impacts facing the county were noted: drugs and the detention center. And while fiscal court has done a great job of communicating those issues, they have not done so in communicating the financial crisis Madison finds itself in, and how incarceration is not working or of the long-run investment of “converting criminals” to taxpayers, Taylor said.

Public comments came from community members in opposition to the tax.

One citizen stated the formerly proposed healing center would support addicts and that once there was a justice system, but now there is just “justifying crime.”

Another woman wanted to know if the jail could receive money from drug seizures, to which County Attorney Jud Patterson said it could not since the money goes to the seizing agency.

And while the proposed insurance premium tax, healing center and jail expansion is off the table, Taylor and the fiscal court must return to the drawing board to tackle dwindling funds, the detention center’s overcrowding and the ever increasing drug epidemic that remains.

All information and photo attributed to The Richmond Register