Sullivan County Commission approves future property tax increase for new jail

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BLOUNTVILLE, Tenn. (WJHL) — The Sullivan County Commission approved a resolution Thursday night to raise property taxes next year in order to fund the construction of a new county jail.

In a 16-8 vote, commissioners approved raising the property tax rate by 12 cents per $100 of taxable property for fiscal year 2021–2022.

Normally, such a resolution would have to be approved twice to be adopted, however, commissioners voted to suspend the rules.

The additional revenue from the tax increase would be used for debt service on $80 million in bonds issued to fund the new jail.

Overcrowding at the current jail has been a problem for years, which could result in the state de-certifying it. Some commissioners say that would open the door for lawsuits.

Some commissioners say now is the time to issue bonds due to low interest rates, which could go up after the election.

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