Meeting could be first step towards raising taxes, hiring additional police
By: Liz Gelardi, reporter
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – The discussion about hiring more officers continued inside the City County Building as council members talked about the public safety tax. The meeting could be the first step if officials decide to raise taxes.
The tax council meeting comes as Mayor Greg Ballard prepares to make a major public safety announcement Wednesday morning.
City Council members heard from Marion County Controller Jason Dudich. He presented an overview of the county’s current tax rate and explained what an increase could mean in terms of revenue.
There are three tax hike options to pay for police, though a combination of sources was recommended in a recent staffing level report. The could eliminate the homestead tax credit, increasing the local option income tax and public safety tax. If all three options were put in place some homeowners could pay an additional $120 per year.
A bi-partisan commission recently studied IMPD staffing levels. Their report called for 500 the hiring of 500 officers over the next 5 years. In that report, the commission recommended hiring more officers by raising the public safety tax and eliminating the homestead tax credit. It is estimated eliminating the homestead tax credit would free up $9 million and increase the public safety tax would bring in $15 million.
The local Fraternal Order of Police spoke during public comments for the meeting. Vice President Rick Snyder called on council members to get officers the help they need.
“I think where our frustration is starting to occur is with the lack of someone just one individual in the position to do so to step forward and lead on the issue,” said Rick Snyder, Vice President of the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 86.
Council members are also waiting to see the mayor’s budget when it’s released on August 18th. Any measures to increase taxes would have to be approved by October 31 in order to take effect in the beginning of 2015.