M'ville leaders discuss income tax funding

2013-08-13T21:45:00Z 2013-08-13T22:15:18Z M'ville leaders discuss income tax fundingChas Reilly chas.reilly@nwi.com, (219) 662-5324 nwitimes.com
August 13, 2013 9:45 pm  • 

MERRILLVILLE | Additional funding Merrillville is expected to have in 2014 because of the newly adopted Lake County income tax has some town officials contemplating how it could be spent.

As Merrillville leaders develop the 2014 budget, Councilman Shawn Pettit suggested the town could consider turning on some of the streetlights that were disconnected in 2009.

At that time, the council decided to turn off hundreds of streetlights on main roads as a cost-cutting measure.

During Tuesday's Town Council meeting, Pettit said he has received a couple of phone calls from residents asking about the status of the lights. Turning some of them back on could create safer streets in town, he said.

Clerk-Treasurer Eugene Guernsey, a former Merrillville police officer, thinks reconnecting streetlights would "do absolutely nothing."

Guernsey also said he wants to wait to make any new financial commitments for 2014 until the town knows exactly how much additional funding Merrillville will receive because of the income tax.

"I don't want to spend any more than we have," Guernsey said.

In May, Lake County Commissioner Roosevelt Allen told the council Merrillville is projected to receive an additional $1.3 million in 2014 because of the tax.

Guernsey said the tax will provide financial help to the town, but officials likely won't know how much of an impact it will have until early next year.

Guernsey also has contemplated how Merrillville could use the additional funding.

He said it's been six years since town employees have received a raise.

Guernsey would like to provide raises or a stipend to employees, he said.

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