IT'S OFFICIAL: Vigo County Council approves food and beverage tax in unanimous vote

Starting September 1st, dining out will cost you a little extra in Vigo County.

Posted: Jul. 9, 2018 11:38 PM
Updated: Jul. 9, 2018 11:55 PM

VIGO COUNTY, Ind. (WTHI) - Starting September 1st, dining out will cost you a little extra in Vigo County.

"If you spend $6 or $7 for lunch, if you can buy a lunch now a days for $7, your tax would be about 7 cents," said Brendan Kearns, Vigo County Council Member.

That's following Monday night's unanimous vote for a 1 percent food and beverage tax by the county council. Money from the tax, leaders said, would be used to help pay for a new convention center in Downtown Terre Haute.

"That money will go towards what I call the quality of place for our community," Kearns said, "It provides funding for projects that would help bring in tourism or attract people here."

Kearns said it's not clear where the convention center would be placed, but he's hopeful that money from the tax could also be utilized for helping the arts in the community.

"I have yet to see any kind of plans, I've got ideas of where it may be, but I don't know any specifics," Kearns said, "What I really want to see is money invested in the arts. Arts is a big thing, and according to the language this is for arts and culture. So I do want to make sure that we invest in our arts community here, and that'll help make this a better place and improve our quality of place."

During Monday night's vote, council members said the approval of the new tax would help move along what some consider a "stagnant" community. 

"We've been in kind of a standstill here," said Councilwoman Vicki Weger, "and this will be a good boost for our downtown area."

Weger said as far as the council is concerned, they've done their job for the project by approving the food and beverage tax.

"We've kind of done our due diligence," said Weger, "and we're waiting now for the county to pick a site and the Community Investment Board will pick it up from here."

Weger said the next line of business for the council is making progress on the Vigo County Jail and its future.

"It's important for the council to just look at what the folks who are doing the assessment on the criminal justice system, to see what information they bring back to us, and make a decision," she said, "The big thing that we're facing now is that the prime rate is expected to go up again once or twice this year, and that will add a huge amount of debt to the whole jail project, we want to avoid that. We have to have tremendous amount of consideration for the Vigo County taxpayers. I think that should be one of the biggest things we have to think about is to get the thing moving as quickly as we can."

Weger said she expects for the council to receive the full assessment in just a very few days. 

"You can expect to see all of the data that they have collected, and we'll be able to analyze that and make some reasonable decision based off that," she said, "So I think you should August should be a very big month. That's also the month that council will be putting together budget for 2019. So we've got a lot of money things to deal with."

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