Lafourche Parish government is preparing an information campaign ahead of the upcoming election to reinstate a 1 percent sales tax for garbage collection.
Lafourche Parish voters will determine whether to reinstate a portion of the 1986 one-cent sales tax to fund parishwide garbage and recycling services on November 6th.
Currently, the parish collects 0.7 of a percent sales tax for garbage collection, excluding the city of Thibodaux. The matter before voters on Nov. 6 is whether to raise the tax to 1 percent. Adding the 0.3 of a percent tax back would amount to 30 cents on a $100 purchase, or 3 cents on $10. The increase would take effect Jan. 1.
“This decision is not up to me or the Council; it is up to the voters. Voter approval would simply reinstate the three tenths of a penny to the original penny already approved by voters,” said Parish President Jimmy Cantrelle.
In 1996, the Lafourche Parish Council had rolled back three tenths of that penny tax because revenues were adequate at the time. But twenty-two years later, the parish’s solid waste fund has been unable to keep up with costs due to declining sales tax revenues.
According to Parish Government, the decline stems from the downturn of the oilfield.
In 2016, revenues dedicated exclusively to fund garbage collection and recycling services brought in $6.7 million, against expenses of $8.2 million, a $1.5 million dollar shortfall.
Following the decline in 2017, revenues decreased to $6.4 million and expenses increased to $ 8.4 million, a $2 million dollar shortfall.
The 2018 tax revenue projections have not improved much from the previous two years.
In order to cover these shortfalls to pay for garbage services, Parish Government has had to take money from other important projects that could have been spent on drainage and recreation improvements.
“The reinstatement would generate enough revenue to pay for current garbage and recycling services next year and for years to come,” confirmed President Cantrelle.
For the average taxpayer, the reinstatement would amount to 3¢ (three cents) on a $10 (ten dollar) retail purchase.
If the tax is not approved, parish government said it would be forced to take drastic steps to cut costs which could include reducing service to once a week with no bulky waste pickup and no recycling, keeping the current services and tax but adding a $7 per month user fee, rolling back the entire tax and adding a $25 per month user fee or moving to private individual garbage services.
Because the state Legislature voted to reduce the state sales tax from 5 percent to 4.45 percent earlier this year, the net change in Lafourche Parish would be a reduction of 0.25 percent if the increase passes.
“We have considered many options and believe that this option is least costly for taxpayers since user fees are avoided, tourists contribute and contributions are variable to one’s level of expenditure,” Cantrelle said. “We encourage citizens of Lafourche Parish to vote on November 6th, 2018, because every vote counts.”
To find out more about the proposed tax visit www.lafourchegov.org/garbagetax.
Posted on Fri, September 21, 2018
by The Lafourche Gazette