Mayor urges ‘yes’ on tax renewals; Perrette: No increases, just continuations of existing taxes

Published 5:45 am Friday, October 21, 2016

In addition to the candidates on the ballot and the statewide constitutional amendments, Bogalusa residents will get to decide whether or not to extend several existing taxes.

Mayor Wendy Perrette said the extensions would not include any increases to current taxes. They have been in place for decades and they pay for important things like streets, sewer and public buildings, among others.

First, voters will decide whether to extend a 1-cent sales tax that’s been approved by voters since it was first voted on in 1982.

Perrette said, “This sales tax generates about $2.4 million annually and it is allocated each year for the following purposes: 15 percent for the water and sewer system; 25 percent for the streets and drainage; 15 percent for public buildings and equipment; and 45 percent to the general fund.”

Voters will also have to decide whether to approve three millages that were last renewed in 2007. The millages support the fire department by $190,000 per year, sewage, water, streets and parks by $190,000 per year and general municipal services by $254,000 per year.

Perrette said the property taxes make up about 19 percent of the property tax income for the city. The 1-cent sales tax makes up about 30 percent of the city’s sales tax revenue.

She made it clear that she believes the taxes need to be approved during the election on Tuesday, Nov. 8.

“It’s imperative,” she said. “Without these millages and sales tax, without this, we don’t have a budget to bother with. We might as well close the doors.”

Perrette added that she is hopeful for state funding to begin necessary water and sewer repairs. Perrette said she will be submitting funding requests for capital outlay projects for the entire city, although what gets funded will depend on what the state approves.

Perrette said nearly all of the underground infrastructure in Bogalusa requires major repairs, but she could not say what project might get funded.

“(The state prioritizes) them,” she said. “We don’t.”