The Fiscal Conservatives of Hamilton County reached out to several members of the HamCo County Council to get their feedback to the suggestion by Fred Swift in this Op Ed that the county just take over the expense for the 911 center. Below is Vice President of the Council , Councillor Rick McKinney's, reply which was also sent to the Reporter. Dear editor, The title is misleading and implies, to the casual observer, that the Hamilton County government is seeking a tax increase, which is certainly NOT true!
A better title would have been: "Cities seeking to increase local income tax”. Mr. Swift’s premise that Hamilton County government could easily absorb the costs of the 911 Communications system by itself is simply nonsensical.
The Commissioners wrested control of the 911 department from the Sheriff approximately 8 years ago, which was a first in the 30 year history of 911. They proceeded to create a new entity to fund the 911 Communications Center that would be controlled by the Cities, funded by contracts with the Cities and the County plus the excise taxes from cellphones & landlines,and managed by the Commissioners. As a result, the northern communities have been subsidized by both the Cities and the County.
The State of Indiana also changed the funding flow so it would receive all the excise taxes from cell phones and landlines, then distributes them back to individual counties under a formula devised by them: it is not a “contribution” from the State as Mr. Swift implies.Nor does Hamilton County receive 100% of the taxes generated by its cell phone users.
The surplus Mr. Swift mentioned is already allocated for specific needs and purposes: proper cash flow to fund routine operations and avoid short term borrowing ( $15 million),allocation for Judicial Center expansion ( $12 million), reserves for possible cost overruns on SR37 ( $10-12 million) and future road projects at 146th St. and Allisonville Rd.
The Hamilton County Council is NOT in favor of an increase in the Local Income Tax. Period.
At-Large Member, Hamilton County Council