Indeed it was. The hearing was part of the process for the implementation of a food and beverage tax ordinance. The Decatur County Council is being asked to implement the tax. The Decatur County Parks and Recreation Department and Board along with a pool committee have proposed the construction of an Aquatic Center which parks department director Teresa Kovachic says is today’s terminology for a pool. There were about 90 in attendance at the Tuesday night hearing with about 15 or so making comments. Comments overwhelmingly were in opposition to the tax. Jeff Whitaker started off the sentiments with don’t spend more than we got followed by a string of other comments echoing the same thoughts. Restaurants are concerned about the tax in general to the eating-out public, costs they will incur if a food and beverage tax has to be collected ranging from additional staff training to accountant costs. There was concern expressed about families not being able to afford the added 1 percent. There was concern expressed about families being able to afford to go to the pool. There was concern expressed about the availability of lifeguards.
There were two voices heard in support of the tax.
The Decatur County Council had the ordinance presented at their October meeting by Bryan Robbins who is on the parks board. The public hearing was then part of the process following the presentation of the ordinance. The ordinance will be on the November 21st agenda for the Decatur County Council. Honoring a request from the audience, that meeting has been moved to 6 PM rather than the regular 9 AM scheduled meeting. Council president Danny Peters said that the council can either vote on the ordinance or table it during that meeting. Tabling it seems likely since Robbins reported that it would be November 24th before they had their projections back on estimated costs for the project.
Deanna Burkhart who is on the Decatur County Council has been working with the pool committee as she has been part of the process with Readi and AARPA funds being designated for this project. About 3.1 million has been earmarked but requirements have to be met to use those funds. The pool Aquatic Center planners had to get approval from the Indiana General Assembly in order for the Decatur County Council to even be able to consider implementation of a food and beverage tax.