A new Local Income Tax goes into effect today, one county residents will notice in their next paychecks.

The Internal Revenue Service this week officially announced that Knox County is among five Hoosier counties to see increases to their LIT.

Passed by local elected officials this spring at a rate of .5%, the LIT here will jump from 0.012 to 0.017, bringing in an additional $4.3 million for local taxing entities to spend bolstering public safety.

Knox County won’t see any revenue, however, until Jan. 1.

Discussions of an increase in the LIT began a year ago, taking center stage at both county and city government meetings for months as elected officials hashed out a way to move forward with EMS.

The sole purpose was to fund ambulance service in Knox County, specifically in the creation of a new system in partnership with Good Samaritan, and while it’s never easy dipping into taxpayers’ pockets, elected officials agree, not having EMS just wasn’t an option.

And they hope to see many more public safety benefits from the additional revenue over the course of the next few years.

“This is going to be a good thing for our community,” said Vincennes Mayor Joe Yochum. “The main reason we had to do this was to keep ambulance service; we can’t be without it. The (new system) is going great so far. And later, I think we’ll be able to make many other improvements as well.

“As an elected official you hate to pass a new tax, but this one we just had to do.”

County elected officials went to the city council last fall looking to work together to find the funds necessary to continue EMS service here.

Knox County EMS, the county’s previous long-time provider, requested an annual subsidy to carry on responding to the county’s 911 calls, a system commonplace across much of Indiana. Knox County EMS did it for nothing for more than 25 years.

The county, however, opted to look to other entities, eventually teaming up with Good Samaritan in the development of a whole new system, one they said they needed the LIT to pay for.

The commissioners as well as the county council, Vincennes City Council and the city council in Bicknell in May all signed both interim and long-term agreements with Good Samaritan for EMS.

The interim deal struck went into effect in July, while the other, more comprehensive plan, is set to begin in January.

An inter-local agreement between the governing bodies designates that the cost of ambulance service will come directly off the top of the additional LIT revenue, then the remaining funds will be distributed as appropriate to the other taxing districts for public safety costs. Those distributions are based on population.
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