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true true true true

City Council Supports Food And Beverage Tax Funds For Small Businesses

A sign on the door of Lennie's restaurant in Bloomington tells customers it's closed indefinitely because of COVID-19 concerns.

Several local restaurants like Lennie's had to close its doors amid the coronavirus shutdown. (Emma Atkinson, WFIU/WTIU News)

Bloomington City Council members are following county officials in offering local businesses financial relief from losses suffered during the coronavirus shutdown.

City council members met Wednesday night to request up to $2 million from the city’s portion of the food and beverage tax revenues and give it to restaurants and other small businesses that promote tourism.

Customers have been paying the 1-percent tax since February of 2018. The money is supposed to be used for the Monroe County Convention Center expansion project. But it's been at a standstill.​

“Two million dollars is a huge amount of money for any of us individually, but it’s really not a huge amount of money when you look at the totality of the need in the community,” Director of Economic and Sustainable Development Alex Crowley says.

The county Food and Beverage Tax Advisory Commission approved a similar request Tuesday night of $200,000 from the county commissioners for local businesses outside of city limits. 

Switchyard Brewing Company owner Kurtis Cummings started a petition in support of using the tax fund for local establishments. He says that petition has received over 12,000 signatures so far.

“We’re known for our unique and independent shops. People visit this town from all over for the culture that we create,” Cummings says.

Council president Steve Volan says the next step is for the Food and Beverage Tax Advisory Committee to consider the resolution. That committee will meet Friday at 5 p.m.

Volan says if the committee approves, city council members would adopt an appropriation ordinance, which could happen as early as April 7th.

For the latest news and resources about COVID-19, bookmark our Coronavirus In Indiana page here

 

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