Kirsten Mustain

Grove Sun

At Tuesday nights meeting, Grove City Council approved a resolution stating that it supports an ad valorem tax increase of 2.22 mills for the construction of a new jail along with a .2 percent sales tax increase to cover the operations of the facility.

“(City Manager) Bruce (Johnson) is trying to protect the citizens of Grove,” said Mayor Gary Bishop of the resolution, which was Johnson’s solution to the ongoing overcrowding issue.

“My number one goal in this scenario is to find something equitable to all parties,” Johnson said.

His proposal, which was subsequently rejected by the Jail Trust Authority at Wednesday’s meeting, would have covered a 174-bed facility.

He said the facility would be large enough to accommodate the county’s current rate of growth for the next 17 years, which would allow enough time for them to develop alternatives to incarceration for non-violent offenders.

“I don’t want to give them carte blanche to do whatever they want without having to think of other alternatives,” Johnson said.

He said the ad valorem tax he proposed would cost homeowners with properties worth $100,000 about $1.96 per month, which would be considerably less than what the same households would pay in sales tax under the .5 percent increase proposed.

He said that while he would make the proposal, getting the county to accept it would be “an uphill battle.”

The council had previously voted unanimously to propose that the county rescind part of the green box and fire department taxes and put those monies toward the building of a new facility.

“Where are we now as a council?” Ward III Council Member Larry Parham asked.

At Large Member Mike Davenport, who works as a bail bondsman in Jay said he felt Johnson’s proposal was a fair one.

“He can’t confer it to the trust authority without our resolution. He is proposing a middle ground between our previous resolution and what the authority is proposing,” Davenport noted.