Medaryville Fire Department cheated of LOIT B funding
The Medaryville Fire Department is losing out on funding but not because of something that has been done wrong.
In a regular Medaryville Town Council meeting on Nov. 16, clerk-treasurer Judy Harwood said the state board of accounts has made it clear that the fire department cannot receive any of the 2016 local option income tax (LOIT) B funding because of the current contract between the town and the department.
“They don’t qualify for the 2016 money. They qualify for the 2017 money,” Harwood said.
Town attorney Amber Lapaich said the fire department does not qualify for the funding because it is not a department of the town. “If they are entitled to any LOIT money, it has to be in contract,” Lapaich said.
Harwood and Lapaich have been working on the 2017 contract between the town and the fire department. Lapaich said she is also wanting to ensure that the town is meeting the insurance requirements of the contract.
The problem with the fire department receiving any 2017 LOIT B funding is compounded because the Pulaski County Council will be discussing whether the county should continue with the tax.
The Pulaski County Council discussed during the Nov. 14 meeting that they would revisit the need for the tax that was initiated last year to help with the costs of EMS wages. Council member Doug Roth made a motion to rescind the tax but it died due to a lack of a second. Council members asked for more information regarding the tax that can only be used for emergency services or equipment. At the time Pulaski County Commissioner Larry Brady reminded the council that other municipalities in the county receive some of the LOIT B funding and have future plans for the funds including using it to help purchase a fire truck. The county is using the LOIT B funding to pay for the EMS salaries. In the 2017 budget, the funds were allocated to cover the total amount of the EMS wages or approximately $400,000.
Because of the threat of the LOIT B funding not being available, Lapaich said she can word the contract so that the fire department can receive the funding as long as it is available.