Whitestown council to weigh enacting food-and-beverage tax

The Whitestown Town Council will hold a public hearing Monday night to consider a proposal to tack a 1% tax on food and beverage purchases to help fund projects that improve local infrastructure and quality of life.

In 2019, Whitestown was one of several suburban communities that received state approval to implement a 1% food and beverage tax. The town didn’t immediately impose that tax, but the council now will consider collecting the money to help pay for services, capital improvements, amenities and economic development projects.

In 2019, it was estimated Whitestown could generate $233,800 in 2021 by enacting the tax.

Earlier this month, Town Council President Clinton Bohm brought up the potential for implementing the food and beverage tax to help fund the town’s contribution to a planned $135 million redevelopment of the former Wrecks Inc. junkyard as a youth sports-anchored, mixed-use development. The project is being spearheaded by two developers: Indianapolis-based Milhaus and Kansas City, Missouri-based Homefield.

Monday’s meeting will take place at 7 p.m. via videoconference. Anyone interested in observing or participating in the meeting has been asked to send an email to nmesser@whitestown.in.gov before 4 p.m. to register.

The city is asking respondents to include their names and addresses, and that the email’s subject line state “Whitestown Council Meeting.” Once the email has been received, the town will respond with information on how to access the videoconference.

The council will not make a final decision on the tax at Monday’s meeting, according to a town representative. Councilors will consider the adoption of the ordinance at their meeting on March 10

Boone County implemented a 1% food and beverage tax in 2005 after lawmakers passed legislation that allowed counties surrounding Marion to collect the money to help fund a new stadium for the Indianapolis Colts. That tax’s proceeds are divided in two, with half going to the stadium and the other half going to local budgets.

At that time, lawmakers also allowed some municipalities to implement their own 1% food and beverage taxes. Zionsville and Lebanon began charging up to 2% starting in November 2005—a combination of the local and county taxes.

Whitestown, the state’s fastest-growing community, has seen its population nearly triple since 2010, from 3,100 then to an estimated 9,092 in 2019.

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