(La Porte County, IN) - Support for a higher county income tax in La Porte County to fund public safety continues to build.
La Porte Mayor Tom Dermody said all but one city and town council in the county has unanimously supported the proposed tax increase. Though the city council in Michigan City had not voted yet, Dermody hopes to talk about the proposed tax to the governing body there, perhaps, as soon as this week.
Dermody and other officials like La Porte County Sheriff John Boyd and La Porte County Emergency Management Service Administrator Andrew McGuire have been going before local governing bodies throughout the county discussing the need for a five-percent increase in the local income tax.
The money would fund competitive salaries for police and other emergency responders. EMS, in particular, has been hit hard by a high turnover from employees leaving for upwards of $10,000 or more per year elsewhere.
Human resources losses related to pay have also been experienced at agencies like the La Porte County Sheriff’s Office. Boyd said an individual making $20,000 a year in taxable income would pay $100 from the proposed 0.5% increase in the income tax.
“When it comes to an individual’s safety, we think this is reasonable,” Boyd said.
Without a competitive wage, Dermody said police and other emergency response agencies locally face potential workforce shortages and become training grounds for outside departments luring officers here with much higher salaries.
“Residents want to know when they call the police; the police will be there. When they call fire, fire will be there, or if they need medical help, an ambulance will be there,” Dermody said.
The La Porte County Council could vote on the proposed tax hike by the end of March.