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Property Rate Vote for EMS and Fire on the Ballot in May

New Carlisle’s City Council members voted Wednesday on a proposed property tax increase to support the city’s fire and EMS department. The council is looking for a $3M, five-year levy to be placed on the May 8 ballot.

Council members unanimously voted recently to place the property tax levy on the ballot this spring. This levy comes on the heels of the failed Levy last Nov that would have required a major change to the city’s income tax collections and could have resulted in the lost of nearly $1 million to its budget.

While voters rejected the Nov issue 67 percent to 33 percent, according to final results, the issue would have required the city to give a 100 percent income tax credit to New Carlisle residents who work in another city. New Carlisle taxes all residents at 1.5 percent, regardless of where they work. The last tax increase voters approved in New Carlisle was a half-percent income tax hike in 2015, which bumped the city’s income tax rate from 1 to 1.5 percent.

City leaders said at the time they would have had to cut 35 to 40 percent of their full-time staff if voters approved the change, including deputies who patrol New Carlisle and respond to emergency calls there.

The upcoming April property tax levy would be used to provide and
maintain fire equipment and buildings, establish and maintain fire
alarm communications, pay personnel and purchase ambulance equipment according to officials.

If passed, the additional tax would take effect in 2019 with a 3-mill
levy costing the owner of a $100,000 home about $105 per year.

The department has about 65 total staff members who are part-time or paid per call, while the department is staffed around the clock it is often a challenge. The department has had issues in the past recruiting and retaining for fire and EMS position as the city pays a lower wage then most departments in the area.

The department will hold an open house on Saturday, Feb. 24, to allow voters to see the current equipment and ask questions about the proposed levy.

The fire department has held fundraisers in the past and have applied for grants but without the passage of the proposed levy or new revenue new equipment is not affordable. The departments main fire engine being over 20 years old and the only ambulance being over 7 the cost to maintain and repair become prohibitive.

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