Carlisle considers income tax increase on ballot for police

City tax would rise from 1.5% to 2.0% if approved, with a change in the credit for taxes paid to other cities

Carlisle voters could see a request to increase the city’s local income tax by a half-percent to help stabilize funding for its police department.

The first step will be Tuesday when City Council will hear the first reading of an ordinance placing the 0.5% income tax increase on the Nov. 8 general election ballot.

The deadline to place ballot issues on the Nov. 8 ballot is Aug. 10, according to the Warren County Board of Elections.

If voters eventually approve the issue, it would increase the city’s income tax from 1.5% to 2% with the additional 0.5% dedicated to the police services budget, said City Manager Julie Duffy.

She said this would generate about $700,000 to $800,000 per year in additional revenue for police services.

Duffy said council believes only 1.5% (not the full 2.0%) could be credited if someone’s income tax was paid to another community. She added that council felt that this was the fairest way to ensure the police department was supported.

“We’ve been able to weather the economic changes so far, but we won’t be able to do so in the future,” Duffy said. “We have a strong residential base and we need to protect the homes and lives of our people.”

Duffy said the proposed increase is not a plan to grow the police department, but only to stabilize it.

Police Chief Will Rogers said passage of the income tax increase would maintain what the city already has and hopefully make minor improvements.

Carlisle returned to city status following the 2020 Census and now has a population of 5,001. The city has a full-time staff of a police chief and seven sworn officers. The police department’s budget for 2022 is just more than $1 million, according to Finance Director Ryan Rushing.

Duffy said Carlisle’s first income tax of 1% was approved by council in 1989 without a vote of the people, as allowed by state law.

Carlisle voters approved an income increase of 0.5% in 1994 for police services. Duffy said that was the last time voters approved a local income tax increase.

The last time Carlisle placed a 0.5% income tax increase on the ballot was in the May 2015 special election, where it failed 59% to 41%, according to the Warren County Board of Elections archives.

Carlisle’s police department has struggled to keep officers on the streets in the past several years as larger departments have hired experienced officers away for better pay.

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