Merrillville residents and visitors will see a new 1% food and beverage tax in February 2024.
The tax will collect a penny on every dollar spent on prepared food and drink sales at restaurants, bars and other outlets in Merrillville.
For example, if a bucket of chicken costs $15, with the food and beverage tax in place, it would cost $15.15.
The tax is estimated to generate $1.8 million annually. The money will be used to improve parks and recreation in the town and promote tourism.
“The food and beverage tax is a small but significant investment in our town’s future,” said Rick Bella, town council president, in a press release. “It will allow us to provide more opportunities for recreation, entertainment and economic development for our community.”
The town council will determine how the funding will be used.
The town’s website lists the ideas under consideration, which include expanding amenities at the town community center, creating an outdoor concert area and developing a splashpad.
Residents can visit the town's website to learn more about the tax and offer suggestions for uses of the new tax money.
The town also offers a guide for business owners. It explains which transactions are subject to the tax, how to register a business and how to pay the tax.
Merrillville is one of 33 communities in Indiana with a food and beverage tax. Munster and Hammond are also considering it.
The town was authorized to institute the tax after the Indiana General Assembly approved House Enrolled Act 1454.
Merrillville encompasses about 31 square miles. It officially became a town in 1971. Merrillville has about 35,000 residents.