• Hendricks County considers tax for communications center

    September 21, 2011 No comments

    At Monday’s Danville town council meeting, County Councilman Myron Anderson asked the board to consider waiving its current distribution of $275,000 to the Hendricks County Communication Center and agree to a public safety Local Option Income Tax to pay for dispatch services.

    As reported in today’s issue of the Hendricks County Flyer, the proposed Local Option Income Tax would have 10 basis points, each point representing a 10th of a percent. So a person with $54,000 in taxable income would pay an extra $54 annually.

    The council estimates a countywide Local Option Income Tax would generate about $3.1 million for the dispatch center, which is about what its annual operating expenses are. Current E-911 fees could fund capital expenses, including replacing some equipment that’s been in use since the center opened more than four years ago.

    When the state mandated that every county condense its emergency dispatch operations to no more than two entities by 2013, it didn’t decree a funding mechanism in which to do it. When Hendricks County consolidated its dispatch services, officials decided to have every community pay what they previously spent on their own dispatch services. That has proven to be inequitable. While Danville pays about $275,000, Avon pays about $84,000. The big five communities all pay in while the rest of the smaller towns aren’t currently paying anything.

    Under the proposed Local Option Income Tax, Danville’s share would be about $134,000. Brownsburg would pay $622,000 and Avon/Washington Township $400,000. The smaller communities would be included too.

    County officials have waited in vain for the state legislature to pass some kind of funding mechanism for dispatch services. State Rep. Greg Steuerwald (R-Avon) proposed legislation establishing a public utility for dispatch services, but it died when Democrats left the state during the last General Assembly.

    A Local Option Income Tax would have to be passed by Nov. 1 to be effective for 2012. Anderson says there’s not enough time for that. He hopes to have a letter ready to be sent to every community by the beginning of next year. Every town would need to consent to a public safety Local Option Income Tax for it to start in ’13.

    If the state legislature does approve a funding mechanism, the county would be able to stop the Local Option Income Tax.

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