Towns ask for LOIT B to stay
Representatives from the towns of Winamac and Monterey voiced their concerns about losing the funding from a tax that was implemented about a year ago.
Although Pulaski County has the highest taxes in the state, several local officials are asking for the local option income tax B (safety tax) to remain.
Pulaski County Council members recently asked to take another look at the tax during a previous council meeting. A motion died for a lack of second to rescind the tax but the idea was tabled for further discussion or until the council meeting Monday night.
Winamac Town Manager Brad Zellers spoke on behalf of the town council asking the county council to leave it in place. “It’s beneficial to us, for the police and fire. We would really hate to see that go away.”
Councilwoman Linda Powers said she has spoken with several people in the community and she questioned how the town council members felt about paying a higher tax specifically because of the local option income tax B (LOIT B).
Town councilwoman Judy Heater questioned Powers regarding whether those who are complaining about the tax understood who benefited from it.
Councilman Doug Roth, who opposed the tax when it was first implemented about a year ago, said the problem is that the county covered the costs of EMS before the LOIT B funding. The tax funding is currently being used to fund the county EMS department wages. He questioned if keeping the LOIT B funding is worth being considered the highest-taxed county in the state.
Powers asked what the funding is being used for. Town clerk-treasurer Melanie Berger said the funding purchased new or upgraded equipment for the police and fire departments.
Powers questioned if the funding would be missed next year.
“There would be no growth with our police and fire departments on new equipment and being able to keep up with the times,” Berger said. “This is a great asset for us.”
Monterey Town Councilman Doug Denton said he echoes what the Winamac Town Council members are expressing. He said the Monterey town budget has also been cut. He reminded the council that the Monterey Volunteer Fire Department not only serves the town but also the surrounding township.
Sullivan Jr. said the issue to dissolve the tax might be reviewed again in a few years but for now it will continue. He suggested that the levee could be changed.
Council members Alex Haschel and Tom Roth were absent from the meeting.