MERRILLVILLE | The Town Council unanimously approved a resolution Tuesday to show the Lake County Council and the Lake County commissioners that the town supports the adoption of a local option income tax.
Town Council President Shawn Pettit said the main reason he supports the county income tax is because it would unfreeze the property tax levy in Lake County.
He estimated Merrillville has been without at least $350,000 each year since the General Assembly imposed the levy freeze in 2007 to punish Lake County for refusing to pass an income tax.
Pettit said Merrillville has been forced to balance the budget each year "on the backs" of town departments, especially the Police Department.
"We've gone to the department heads as much as we can," he said.
Merrillville resident Dee Evans-Hein told the council she agrees with the resolution.
"It's time to stop paralyzing us," she said of the levy freeze.
Merrillville's decision comes less than a week after Hobart's City Council approved a similar resolution.
Hobart also recently requested to join a lawsuit filed to end the levy freeze.
The suit was filed a year ago by Daniel Murchek, assistant county police chief and president of Lake County Police Association Local 72, and Robert Klasner, of the county Fraternal Order of Police.
Councilman Richard Hardaway said Merrillville doesn't intend to join the lawsuit.