VINCENNES, Ind. (WAWV/WTWO) – April 11th the Vincennes Common Council held a public hearing on potential modification of local income taxes in Knox County. During the hearing the Vincennes City Council approved a public safety income tax.

The public safety income tax is a flat tax of 0.5% and will fund ambulance services and public safety.

Vincennes Mayor Joe Yochum said the city has struggled with a lack of ambulance services for years.

“We have one privately owned ambulance service in Vincennes,” Yochum said. “The ambulance service recently asked for a subsidy and we needed a way to continue to provide ambulance services moving forward.”

Yochum said the tax dollars will also provide public safety with competitive salaries.

“Right now we have police and fire that can drive 30 minutes down the road and make about $5000 more each year,” Yochum said.

Vincennes Chief of Police John Hillenbrand said the pay increase will help retain staff.

“We compete with entities nationwide for quality applicants, and we just want to be on equal playing ground,” Hillenbrand said.

Hillenbrand ensures the money will go back into the community to better serve the taxpayers.

“As employees with police departments, fire departments, EMS, and the emergency services make more money, the money will go back into the community,” Hillenbrand said.

The public safety income tax will go into effect this October.