Proposed property tax increase in Jackson County could go toward troubled jail

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A resolution to increase property taxes is working its way through the Jackson County Legislature.

On Wednesday, the legislature adopted a resolution that aims to increase property taxes. More steps need to be taken before the resolution is final, but if approved, county lawmakers said it would put $19 million in the county's general fund.

One of the possible ways to spend the money would be putting it toward the Jackson County Detention Center.

Jackson County Detention Center

If the money goes to the jail, which the county office said is the priority, it could be used to make improvements to the existing facility. It could also be used to build a whole new building.

Years ago, Jackson County lowered the property tax rate. Now, lawmakers are considering a rate closer to the maximum cap. The legislature can make the move without voter approval, according to Missouri state statute.

If the property tax rate increases, it could mean an additional $19.5 million per year for the county. There are several other areas where there money could go other than the jail.

Some of the other options are using the money for salary increases for Jackson County employees. According to Legislator Theresa Galvin, many county workers start at $10 an hour.

Another possible option for the tax increase money is using it for maintenance at the Jackson County Courthouse. Galvin said there's a laundry list of things that need fixing, including IT services, the emergency alert system and elevators. Some elevators haven`t worked for years.

Over the last decade, Jackson County said it lost about $165 million in revenue because of the reductions in the old tax rate. Only time will tell how the money of conflicted tax payers will be spent.