The Journal Gazette
Wednesday, March 25, 2020 5:50 pm

Arp: Use food and beverage tax to help restaurants

DAVE GONG | The Journal Gazette

One Fort Wayne City Council member on Tuesday suggested the city use food and beverage tax funds to help local food and entertainment industry workers affected by the coronavirus shutdown. 

"Whether it's catering or restaurants or anything on which you're depending on gatherings of people, these folks are not making a living right now," Councilman Jason Arp, R-4th, said. "I think it's time that we could be a little bit creative in looking for things that we could do to help provide some relief for those people."

Arp said should the developers of the Electric Works project ask for another extension to its economic development agreement, it should be denied and council should try to use money in the food and beverage tax fund to try to keep restaurants and other businesses alive. 

"A lot of these restaurants are not going to open again," Arp said. "Maybe we could help some of these people by refunding their food and beverage taxes from the last couple of years that are sitting in the account that have been waiting to be used on Electric Works."

Arp also suggested suspending Food and Beverage Tax payments for a period of time as another option to help provide relief. 

"I think it's something we should do," he said. "I've been working with (council) members on putting together a resolution on that to see if there's something we can do and ask (the Capital Improvement Board) and our colleagues on County Council, the County Commissioners and the mayor if there's something that we can do to help hopefully keep some of these businesses afloat."

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