By Dan Domsic
The Fishers Town Council has until the end of the year to enact a tax increase that may fund future economic development opportunities the town is pursuing.
House Bill 1070 gives Fishers council, as well as the Cloverdale town council, the ability to impose a 1-percent food and beverage tax, according to www.openstates.org.
Patrons of the town’s bars and restaurants pay that extra one percent.
Council has through Dec. 31 to make a move on the opportunity. If they choose to make the food and beverage tax a reality, it can be used against the town’s property tax levy or for economic development.
Council President John Weingardt said the council will likely start making a move on their options this summer or fall.
He said public input will be part of the process, but is not sure of exactly how that aspect of the process will look.
Weingardt said the tax increase could mean as much as $1.4 million in extra income.
He said communities around Fishers implement the tax, and it could be yet another tool for making economic development deals happen.
“We’ve been fiscally conservative throughout the years, and we’ll continue to be that way,” Weingardt said. “But this is another way to bring economic development to Fishers and another tool we can use to accomplish that.”
Weingardt said he could not comment on any opportunities the town is pursuing in terms of those deals.
“We’re looking at a number of opportunities for Fishers,” Weingardt said. “That’s the one thing about Fishers, there’s so much undeveloped property out there that we’ve got a blank canvas, and certainly we want to do our best to paint a masterpiece for a community as best we can from an economic developer’s perspective.”
The food and beverage tax’s history reaches back to the funding of Lucas Oil Stadium. Local governments had the opportunity to opt for it then. Fishers passed on the opportunity, but is now getting a second chance.