Merrillville officials, seeking state's financial help, confer with Rep. Smith

2012-12-02T17:33:00Z Merrillville officials, seeking state's financial help, confer with Rep. SmithChas Reilly chas.reilly@nwi.com, (219) 662-5324 nwitimes.com
December 02, 2012 5:33 pm  • 

MERRILLVILLE | Town leaders hope state lawmakers can help Merrillville improve its financial situation.

Town councilmen met with state Rep. Vernon Smith, D-Gary, last week to discuss potential ideas that could increase funding for Merrillville.

Smith told the town to develop several proposals he could share with other state legislators.

Town Administrator Howard Fink said more flexibility with tax increment financing district spending is among the proposals Merrillville would submit.

He said funds from TIF districts can't be used to pay salaries. If laws were changed to allow that spending, Merrillville could use TIF money to hire more police officers, Fink said.

Town Council President Shawn Pettit said the Merrillville Police Department is short -staffed because of Merrillville's budget limitations.

Pettit said another measure the town could pursue is a one-time opportunity for municipalities to enact a tax of their choice.

He said a 1 percent food and beverage tax charged at restaurants could benefit the town.

Pettit said that type of tax wouldn't impact all residents.

Clerk-Treasurer Eugene Guernsey said there is "no wiggle room" in Merrillville's budget, and he thinks the town has made all the budget cuts it can.

"We're a no-frill town," Guernsey said.

He and other town officials said the levy freeze in Lake County has made it difficult for the town to improve services, which is why Merrillville is submitting proposals to Smith to increase funding.

Smith said Merrillville officials should present the town's financial situation to other state lawmakers, so they could better understand why Merrillville is pursuing the measures.

Fink said he and Guernsey will develop a 10-minute presentation, which they would provide early next year.

There are no guarantees any of Merrillville's proposals will advance, but town leaders appreciated the opportunity to discuss their ideas with Smith.

"If he gets us anything, it's better than what we've got," Guernsey said.

M'ville, seeking state financial help, confers with Rep. Smith

Copyright 2014 nwitimes.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.



About Merrillville

Town Hall

7820 Broadway Ave. Merrillville, IN 46410
219.769.5711
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

Latest Local Offers