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Johnson County eyes fee increases to offset cuts

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Residents of a central Indiana county could pay more to own dogs or have work done at their homes and could buy a beer at county-owned property under proposals designed to bolster coffers hurt by deep spending cuts.

Johnson County Commissioner John Price said officials are looking at ways to raise money after cutting more than $2 million from spending for next year. Proposals include increasing the fees to register dogs, implementing a licensing fee for kennels and breeders, charging to run criminal history checks and requiring motorists locked out of their cars to pay a fee when a deputy is called to help them get back into their vehicles.

Other ideas include allowing the county to collect all the money from traffic tickets written on county roads and allowing alcohol sales at the Johnson County Park and fairgrounds, the Daily Journal reported.

Price said officials are still researching the ideas and have to weigh their impact, especially liability concerns if alcohol sales were allowed on county properties.

Officials say the goal is to raise enough money to keep or hire more employees, give raises and prevent cuts in services.

"I don't like it either because they're already being taxed enough; but when we're $2.2 million short in this budget, I lost a courthouse security person," Sheriff Doug Cox said.

Cox is considering charging fees for services his office already provides, such as criminal history reports often needed for new jobs, checks of vehicle identification numbers, calls to help locked-out motorists and referrals the office makes to towing companies.

He's also looking into whether the county could keep revenue from traffic tickets written on local streets instead of sending a portion to city courts and the state. The county currently gets $12.50 for each traffic violation ticket, which averages about $120.

Cox said he would want to find out if the change is cost-effective and if his department would benefit. He said county officials have said in the past that money collected likely would go into the county general fund, which pays salaries and bills for most county offices.

"I create this, I bring in $1 million, and at the end of the year, they ask me to eliminate employees," Cox said. "If my guys are going to be working extra hard, they ought to see a benefit from working extra hard."

Planning Department Director Bryan Pohl said he is researching what other counties charge for additions, new homes and alterations to property to see how Johnson County compares.

"I think we are due for some kind of adjustment. I just don't know what those fees would be," Pohl said. "The attitude is that we are a public service organization, but I think we should at least look at that and have that conversation."

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  • What's next?
    So what's next, fees to have children in Johnson County? I agree that if we are receiving a service then you should pay for it, but why should I pay a fee for my dog, which I adopted from the shelter and had neutered(cost me $), pay for its shots annually (costs me $) and take care of (costs me $). And don't people already have to obtain building permits...don't those cost $? Johnson County stop providing services that are not paid for by taxes or fees. Stop the spending. Are we that desperate that they have to look to start selling beer too? What's next?
  • Perhaps -- a tax on daily green card labor???
    I would have to say that many in Johnson County are ---getting more than their share of services without having to pay. I believe an ENFORCED $5 a day fee for using green card labor would help offset the costs the "migrant" labor force brings. In theory, these jobs, that businesses claim "American's don't want" .... at least Americans don't want unless they also get free medical, can drive without paying for licenses/insurance, and not get ticked...etc.

    A clear solution is to tax green card labor, all green card labor in the county.
    That would not be a bad Federal and State idea.

    (I know our government hates the working class Americans; holding the belief that business should profit with underpaid illegal labor. Indiana did cut corporate income tax...to benefit the working class....your man Mitch.)
  • Growth not Taxes
    You cannot save your way to a fortune. The mismanagemnt of Greenwood and its growth is the primary cause of the tax shortfall. Hopefully a new mayor will rectify this. Growth starts by making a city attractive. Starting is easy. Clean up the mess (old cars, etc). This is not rocket science. See the "Broken Window" theory in Wikipedia.
  • poor journalism or thinking
    This article sounds like they are blaming reduced spending by the government for reducing their tax haul, therefore making it necessary to raise taxes! Have they ever heard of 10% unemployment? Blood from turnips?
  • Locked out???
    If Johnson County charge's you to unlock your car when they send the Sheriff, just call the local fire department most have lock out kits and it won't cost you a dime. You will have to sign a paper that says they aren't responsbile if they break anything (sheriff's have the same form), most will have you in your car before you finish the form.
  • greed
    why not just go door to door, dressed as policemen and demand 5 bucks...insted of taxing every thing that comes into your mind..how ignorant you are, ya cut spending..yet..find every way possible to rip everyone off, how long will it be untill we are taxed on wearing a watch...or for how much air we breath based on one,s weight...idiots
  • Concerned resident!
    If your going to offset costs by raising everything else then taxes weren't really cut were they? The only thing bueracrats think about is how to genrate more money to spend.

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