MERRILLVILLE | Lake County Commissioner Roosevelt Allen hopes the recently passed county income tax will help relieve some financial problems the town has encountered.
Allen attended Tuesday's Town Council meeting to explain what effect the 1.5 percent tax on the personal income of all county residents and out-of-state residents working in Lake County will have on the town.
He said Merrillville is projected to receive an additional $1.3 million in 2014 because of the tax, which becomes effective Oct. 1.
"Hopefully this will be a tremendous help to your town," Allen said.
He said $520,000 of that estimated amount will be designated for public safety.
The town has been searching for ways to boost its general fund to hire more police officers.
Allen also told the council that its budget is estimated to grow by $1.5 million in 2015 and $1.7 million in 2016.
He said Merrillville has always been a frugal town, and it's important for municipal leaders to be even more frugal to show residents that they will spend their funds wisely.
Town Councilman Shawn Pettit said he appreciated the Board of Commissioners declining to veto the tax package Friday.
In September last year, the Town Council approved a resolution supporting the income tax.
Pettit said he supported the resolution because the income tax was needed to unfreeze the property tax levy in Lake County.
He thinks the additional funds Merrillville is projected to receive through the income tax aren't the complete answer to all of Merrillville's financial struggles.
He said he will continue to push for fiscal home rule, which would allow communities to enact their own taxes to generate more funding.
A hotel/motel tax or a food and beverage tax have been proposed to produce additional revenue in Merrillville.