Warrick Co. council considers reallocating public safety income tax revenue

Warrick Co. council considers reallocating public safety income tax revenue
Published: May. 18, 2023 at 11:09 PM CDT
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WARRICK CO., Ind. (WFIE) - To fund a new correctional facility, the Warrick County Council has been considering an ordinance to reallocate public safety income tax revenue. The funds would shift from local police and fire budgets to the corrections project.

Chandler Fire Chief Spencer Wester said he had no idea about the proposed change.

“I didn’t receive any notice until the day after the meeting,” he said.

In a letter to the county council, Chandler Town Attorney Joshua Claybourn said their ordinance is not legally binding.

He cites an Indiana code requiring the county to notify all taxing units in the county when reducing tax rates at least 10 days before the public hearing.

County Council President Greg Richmond said in a statement that his proposed ordinances do not change the local income tax rate, and instead reallocate funds to the corrections project.

Despite the lack of notice, Newburgh Town Manager Christy Powell was at the last council meeting and said that reallocation of funds would hurt the town.

“A $65,000 decrease in our Public Safety LIT would be detrimental,” she said.

Both she and Chief Wester said that well drying up would cost them most of their budgets.

Wester estimated they receive around $150,000.

“For a fire department of our size, that provides everything,” he said. “Our budget before was a lot less than $150,000. We were operating on the bare minimum budget.”

In that May 5 meeting, members of the council did point out to Powell that they wouldn’t be losing everything, and her $60,000 estimate is probably too high.

In any case, the council plans to host a new meeting to properly discuss how to reallocate funds with the least amount of change to local towns.

That meeting will be held at the Warrick County Courthouse on June 13 at 6 p.m.