M'ville officials say lawmakers aren't playing fair

2013-03-12T21:30:00Z 2013-03-12T22:58:04Z M'ville officials say lawmakers aren't playing fairChas Reilly chas.reilly@nwi.com, (219) 662-5324 nwitimes.com

MERRILLVILLE | Town Council President Carol Miano thinks Merrillville isn't receiving the same opportunity as another municipality in the state.

During Tuesday's council meeting, Miano said the town developed a proposal asking state lawmakers to give Merrillville the ability to enact a 1 percent food and beverage tax.

While that proposal didn't advance, there is pending legislation that would give the Cloverdale Town Council the authority to enact a food and beverage tax in that community.

Miano thinks it's unfair that Merrillville isn't given the same chance as Cloverdale. Cloverdale is a town of about 2,000 midway between Terre Haute and Indianapolis.

"We desperately need funding for our town," she said of Merrillville's financial situation.

Councilman Shawn Pettit said this isn't the first time Merrillville has sought fiscal home rule to enact a tax to generate more funding for the town.

A hotel/motel tax is among other ideas the town pursued.

Pettit said the Indiana Association of Cities and Towns has sought fiscal home rule for state municipalities for decades, and he is unsure why the General Assembly won't allow it in Merrillville.

"It's getting old," Pettit said, "We're beating the same horse."

Town leaders said public safety is among areas in which Merrillville has attempted to increase funding.

"We're trying for you," Pettit said to Police Chief Joseph Petruch.

Pettit said the Police Department has worked to obtain grants to fund overtime and new equipment.

Infrastructure improvements is another area in which the town needs to address, he said.

Pettit wants town leaders to develop a strategy to pave roads in each of Merrillville's wards.

"The streets aren't going away," he said.

Councilman Don Spann, who also serves as chairman of the Parks and Recreation Committee, said the town's Parks Department needs help to increase programing that could generate more funds for the town.

Spann thinks an administrative secretary position that recently became vacant in the town administration office should be changed so the person hired also would handle some responsibilities at the Parks Department.

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About Merrillville

Town Hall

7820 Broadway Ave. Merrillville, IN 46410
Fax: 219.756.6170

Police Department

7820 Broadway Merrillville, IN 46410
Emergency: 911
Non-emergency 219.769.3531
Administration: 219.769.3722
Crime Tip Hotline: 219.756.6180 ext. 54

Fire Department

26 W. 73rd Ave. Merrillville, IN 46410
Emergency: 911
Non-emergency 219.769.0004
Fax: 219.756.6170

Parks & Recreation

5750 Tyler Place Merrillville, IN 46410
Phone: 219.980.5911

Lake County Public Library

1919 West 81st Avenue Merrillville, IN 46410
Phone: 219.769.3541

Merrillville Community School Corporation

6701 Delaware Street Merrillville, IN 46410
Phone: 219.650.5300