Council agrees not to repay jail bonds early

Bartholomew County Council is putting off the possibility of early payment of bonds for the county jail. That comes because the county is earning more on interest from its investments, than it would save by paying off the bonds early.

This week the County Council held a discussion on the possibility of paying off the bonds early, brought by up by councilwoman Evelyn Pence. She said that many taxpayers are struggling and paying off the bonds early would allow the county to reduce the tax rate. Councilman Bill Lentz said that he fundamentally believes that taxpayers would make better use of their money than the government would.

However, Councilman Mark Gorbett pointed out that the county is paying about 3 percent on the jail bonds, but bringing in 5 percent interest income. Which means the county could build up a nest egg for a future project, such as the county youth services center, without paying a large interest rate on a new loan.

County Treasurer Barb Hackman said the county expects to generate about $4 million this year on interest from its cash reserves. The jail bonds will be paid off in early 2027.

The council voted 3-2 not to approve an early payoff plan, with two members absent.