Morgan Park Pays Off Tax Bill to Ind. County
An amusement park in Indiana's White County has reportedly paid nearly $350,000 that it owed the county after neglecting several years’ worth of property and innkeeper’s taxes.
Indiana Beach Amusement Resort, a recreation spot on Lake Shafer in Monticello, owed the county an estimated $180,000 in self-reported innkeeper’s taxes, which go toward promoting tourism in the area and lake cleaning efforts, and $167,000 in property taxes, the Lafayette Journal & Courier reported.
“They’re all paid up,” said White County commissioner John Heimlich.
The resort’s parent company, Morgan RV Resorts, paid $11,000 of the bill back in early January. The company, whose financial health has been called into question, reportedly paid the rest after various news reports about the debt were published later that month.
Morgan RV Resorts, which did not return the Journal & Courier’s request for comment, recently agreed to sell 11 of its RV communities to Sun Communities Operating Limited Partnership LLC of Michigan for $135 million. Another of its properties, Flagg’s RV Resort, is in foreclosure.
As of March 4, Morgan RV had paid the county within 10% of what it estimated that the company owed in the self-reported innkeeper’s tax, according to Joe Crivello, a board member of the White County Tourism Authority.
Indiana Beach collected $64,327 in innkeeper's taxes in five months during 2009, according to the tourism authority, compared with $55,700 in collections during all of 2012. During several peak months from 2009 to 2012, the resort collected nothing.
Since the innkeeper’s tax is self-reported, counties have limited powers available to enforce collection. Crivello said he believes several smaller tourism entities in the county have neglected to pay their share of the tax as well.
The innkeeper’s tax was increased to 5% in the county in 2011 in order to generate what was expected to be between $80,000 and $100,000 annually to promote the county’s tourism industry, which is believed to have a $70 million annual economic impact on the area.
A representative from Indiana Beach did not respond to the Journal & Courier’s request for comment.
As the resort prepares for its summer 2013 season by hiring seasonal employees, county officials hope to move forward. The resort will host a job fair on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Indiana Beach Office, 5224 E. Indiana Beach Road in Monticello.
“They’re hiring people like crazy right now,” Crivello said. “Maybe they’re out of the woods. I hope so.”