Wayne Trustee Disputes City Councilor's Comments
(posted Apr 4)
Wayne Township Trustee David Baird wants it known that the township's fire
tax rate is not 73 cents per $100 assessed valuation as City County Councilor
Robert Lutz has stated. Baird said the tax rates have not been certified,
so there is no official number. Baird said he has checked with the auditor,
treasurer, and Department of Local Government Finance, and none of those
departments could report a certified tax rate. Baird was responding to
statements Lutz made during his quarterly town hall meeting March 25.
Baird blames the township's fire costs on the City County Council for not
obtaining County Option Income Tax funds, which he estimates at $3.3 million,
for the township. He contends the reason the city's fire rate is lower
is because their budget includes only personnel, not capital improvements
Lutz said "To the best of my knowledge David (Baird) is correct the
rate has not been certified. The rate could fluctuate up or down depending
on the final numbers for assessed valuation and the final approval of the
various taxing entities proposed budgets. That number was given to me on
March 10 by the city controller." Lutz requested tax rates for Wayne-outside
fire and IFD. Wayne's rate was reported as 73 cents / $100 and IFD's at
28 cents / $100. "While I did not specifically ask Mr. Reynolds at
the time he gave me those numbers, it is my understanding the number is
based on the budget submissions by the entities."
"In the interests of full disclosure it is also true that you cannot
necessarily compare the rates as apples to apples because IFD gets public
safety COIT which Wayne does not, and that has the affect of, for lack
of a better term, artificially lowering IFD's fire tax rate. So if IFD
was not receiving the public safety COIT its fire rate would be higher.
If Wayne was getting public safety COIT its rate would also be lower."
"IFD is getting the public safety COIT and Wayne is not and that is
something that the general assembly did to both Wayne and the township
taxpayers, and unfortunately the township taxpayers are saddled with the
tax bill. Mr. Baird sent the council a letter asking us to do something
about this inequity. I wish we could, but the way the public safety COIT
was passed it goes only to cities and towns and not townships and the City
County Council has no authority to change what the legislature passes."
"But the long and the short of it is that Wayne Township taxpayers
are paying far more for fire protection than they should. We are in a totally
different situation than we were three years ago. We now have three township
fire departments that have or are in the process of merging with IFD. What
has taken place in Washington Township and Warren Township and now Perry
shows us that consolidating the fire services can work. Have all the kinks
been worked out? No, but when looking at the current cost to the taxpayers
I do not see the continued advantage to the property taxpayers of Wayne
Township outside of maintaining its own fire department."
City Controller David Reynolds said "Wayne Twp's budget documents
project a 2009 tax rate of $0.9443. I believe when the numbers are worked
by DLGF (the state) the 2009 tax rate will be $0.7284."