Income tax increase for police on Nov. 6 ballot
BALTIMORE – Baltimore Police Chief Michael Tussey said a November income tax police levy would restore services to where they were before four village employees, including two officers, were laid off late last year.
He said the proposed tax is .75 percent and equals 1.5 cents for each $2 of income earned. “This increase does not apply to any pensions, Social Security or disability incomes,” he said. “In that way, senior citizens and fixed income residents will see no increase in what they pay.” Tussey said this also helps to reduce the amount needed from residents by applying the increase to anyone who works in the village regardless of where they live.
“This way of funding also is tied to the growth of the village,” said Tussey. “As more people move here or more businesses locate here, the amount generated would increase. If the village stays at its current level, then the amount collected would stay the same.”
Tussey said that should the levy pass, Baltimore would return to fulltime overnight patrol of the village and a general increase in patrol coverage at other times. “It also will reduce response time for calls for service,” he said. “Currently, due to a lack of officers, we have times that no one is on patrol in the village.”
Tussey said the village would also be able to return to many of the community services that residents have requested such as the senior citizen outreach program, school safety day, a new block watch program, and implementation of new safety programs. “I think that it is also important for people to know that the police department has nothing to do with the increases in water and wastewater bills,” he said. “We are funded from the general fund, whereas the water and wastewater is funded from a different revenue source.”
If the income tax fails, Tussey knows there will be cuts, but he’s not sure where yet. “We just don’t know,” he said. Tussey said he’s waiting to see how much the department receives, or no longer receives, through state revenue. He said he’ll have to find ways to make reductions while still maintaining minimum services. “We’re about on a shoe string as it is,” he said. “There’s not a whole lot left to cut from.”