IBJNews

Hearing draws lively debate on Fishers food-drink tax

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

The Fishers Chamber of Commerce and some individual business owners are on opposite sides of a debate over imposing a 1-percent food-and-beverage tax to help fund economic development efforts in the town.

More than a dozen people spoke out Tuesday night at the first of two public hearings on the proposal. Town Council members are expected to vote in early December.

The Indiana General Assembly passed a law this year allowing Fishers to enact the tax on food and beverages served in restaurants. The revenue, estimated to be $1.2 million annually, can only be used to fund local economic development or reduce the town’s property-tax rate.

Restaurateur Bill Smythe said the tax would cut into his profit margins.

“For me, it’s a very specific taxation on my business,” said Smythe, who owns Claude and Annie’s Food & Spirits on 141st Street in Fishers. “Once you’ve taxed me, you’re effectively taxing my employees.”

Smythe told the council he would be less opposed to the levy if the proceeds were used to lower property-tax rates instead of funding economic development projects.

Local Realtor Kurt Meyer, speaking on behalf of the Fishers Chamber, said the tax is needed to fund economic development—an important part of diversifying the town’s property tax base and attracting employers to Fishers.

“It’s a competitive world,” Meyer said. “Every time that one of these companies comes to look at Fishers, Indiana, they’re looking at not only our neighboring communities but they’re also looking at neighboring states.”

He was in the minority at the hearing, which drew about three dozen residents. Most who spoke opposed the tax, and many expressed skepticism about imposing the levy with no specific economic development projects on the horizon.

IBJ reported Nov. 9 that officials are working on specific deals, but they aren’t ready to discuss details.

Town Council members told the crowd Tuesday that such talks must be conducted behind closed doors due to the competitive nature of negotiations.

The only council member to take a clear position on the issue so far is Renee Cox, a mayoral candidate who strongly opposes the tax. She came under attack Tuesday from council members Scott Faultless, Mike Colby and Pete Peterson, who accused her of using the tax debate for political gain. Cox said she’s just listening to the people.

Fishers Town Manager Scott Fadness, who also is running for mayor, said he is not ready to take a position on the issue. He wants to listen to public comments and wait for specific information on how the tax will work. He said waiting will allow him to make an “informed decision.”

Mayoral candidate Walt Kelly also has said he opposes the food-and-beverage tax.

Other communities in the northern suburbs have been collecting a 1-percent food-and-beverage tax for eight years, ever since a funding deal for the construction of Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis gave them the chance. The tax applies to dine-in and carry-out prepared food.

Suburbs that adopted the tax at the time—Carmel, Noblesville, Westfield and Zionsville—can use the money for any public purpose.

ADVERTISEMENT

  • Fadness
    If one is to vote for Fadness shouldn't we know where he stands on issues? If Mr. Fadness is the economic genius that turned the towns finances around surely he would at least have an unbiased opinion about how the tax would affect the local economy. The issue of this tax has been discussed for the past year and Mr. Fadness does not have an informed opinion? I am curious if Pete had his Fadness for Fishers shirt on when he accused Mrs. Cox of trying to get votes. Fadness has been an extremely poor town manger and would be worse as mayor. What about transparency? Negotiations have to be held behind closed doors because of competitiveness? Is that because most sensible individuals would have been against giving away 10 million dollars and valuable real estate?
  • should be considered
    I don't know if this tax is a good idea without a specific plan announced yet. I am in full support for this tax once Fishers announces something it will be useful for. I love this town (soon to be city) because of its innovating ways to keep residents in the town rather than spending money elsewhere. I can't wait until the new Nickel Plate Depot is finished. We will finally have some high end restaurants and stores and downtown Fishers! For those of you think the Nickel Plate Amphitheater was a waste of money, you are wrong. They are already producing many events there that help the community as a whole. The Boo Bash there had many visitors. The Christmas event there will be nice also.
  • Go ahead
    and vote for raising taxes. We will remember you and take pleasure in voting you out at the first opportunity! Let the market determine need for development. And why not wait say a couple decades to see how that new complex in front of the town center turns out. We don't need any more of the "build it and they will come" crowd.
  • Chamber
    One must always remember that Chambers of Commerce serve the most powerful economic forces in a community or the country. The Chamber is a huge supporter of corporate welfare in many forms.
  • only 36 people??
    Really Fishers??? Only 36 of you care about a 1% increase in your taxes?
  • why stop?
    I heard the comments from the Chamber and wanted to ask - why just impose the tax on one industry ? If the tax is so small and insignificant then surely all businesses would welcome the chance to pay it.
  • Names to remember
    Cox and Kelly. I will remember your names come May when I am voting in the primary. Glad to see you two come out so strongly against this.
  • Reign in Fi$her$
    This town spends money like there is no tomorrow. For the most part, the biggest part of what they spend is good for the town. And then came the intersection at 96th & Allisonville. $8,000,000 for what? Construction was a joke and took forever. Lanes don't line up and creates road rage like I've not seen in a long, long time. Who supervised this job? If this is any indication what these clowns who "run" Fishers would do with more money - God help us. PS - If you work for Fishers now, don't even think about getting elected to city government.

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
ADVERTISEMENT

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
 
thisissue1-092914.jpg 092914

Subscribe to IBJ
  1. Here are a few candidates for this new group, "ripped from the headlines." First up, that bizzaro State Senator Brent Waltz; secondly, the unethical Todd Huston, and his contractual arrangements scheme; Finally, but not least of all, the dishonorable Eric Turner. What sayeth you Greg Zoeller?

  2. Good day. I can't hide this great testimony that take place in my life I will love everyone to know it and be partaker that is why I always place it on answer, I am Mrs,Natalie Cuttaia by name, I live in Texas, United State Of America, I want to thank (Mr.Bruce Brandon) for his kindness upon my family life. I never knew that there is still nice lender like this on internet and earth here. Just some Months Back, I was in search for a loan of $100,000,00 as I was running out of money for feeding and rent. I was scammed $6,800 Dollars and I decided not to involve my self in such business again but a Friend of my introduced me to a loan firm due to my appearance and doings. And I told him that I am not interested of any loan deal anymore but he told me that there is still a nice lender who he will recommend me to, and I made a trial and I am most grateful lucky am I today, I was given a loan amount of $100,000.00usd, by this great Company (Bruce Brandon Loan Company) managed by (Mr.Bruce Brandon) If you are in need of a genuine or legit loan or financial assistance and you can be reliable and trusted of capable of paying back at the due time of the funds I will advice you to, contact him via: ( bruce.brandon071@gmail.com ) And you will be free from scams in the internet. All thanks to Mr.Bruce Brandon You are the one who remove me and my family out of poverty. The reason why i am doing this is that, i promise Mr.Bruce Brandon that if i truly got my loan, i will advertize his company and bring customers to his company. Contact him via ( bruce.brandon071@gmail.com )for the Loan you have been looking for..

  3. Hello, We are firm Organization formed to help people in needs of helps,such as financial help. So if you are going through financial difficulty or you are in any financial mess,and you need funds to start up your own business,or you need loan to settle your debt or pay off your bills,start a nice business, or you are finding it hard to obtain capital loan from local banks,contact us today via email mrsroseberrywilkinsfunds.usa@gmail.com So do not let these opportunity pass you by because Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever more. Please these is for serious minded and God fearing People. Your Name: Loan Amount: Loan Duration: Valid Cell Phone Number: Thanks for your understanding to your contact as we Await Regards Management Email:mrsroseberrywilkinsfunds.usa@gmail.com

  4. The question is, where could they build a new stadium? It seems in the past year, all the prime spots have been spoken for with potential projects. Maybe in the industrial wasteland area a block past Lucas Oil? I think it needs to be close to the core, if a new stadium is built.

  5. Aldi is generally a great shopping experience. Still, I'm sure YOU wouldn't want to shop there, which I consider a positive.

ADVERTISEMENT