City approves tax votes for December

Published 4:43 am Saturday, September 22, 2018

On Tuesday, the Bogalusa City Council unanimously approved a resolution calling for a special election to be held Saturday, Dec. 8, to allow Bogalusa’s citizens to vote on three tax ballot questions. Each is an attempt to address the financial crisis currently facing the city’s pension program for public-works employees.

The three issues that will be on the ballot include the following:

  • Should the city collect a special tax of three mills on property, for 20 years starting in 2019 and ending in 2038. Estimated proceeds are $217,500 per year, and all of this revenue would go toward paying benefits to the City of Bogalusa Employees Retirement System (COBERS).
  • Should the city rededicate a 1-percent sales tax originally approved in a 1955 referendum, so that at least 12.5 percent of that 1 percent would be used toward COBERS. Estimated proceeds are $272,300 per year.
  • Should the city rededicate the 0.25-percent sales tax that is currently earmarked toward maintaining the industrial park, so that half of that 0.25 percent would be used toward COBERS. Estimated proceeds are $272,300 per year.

David Wolf, the city’s bond and tax attorney, spoke during Tuesday’s meeting about the tax election. He explained that although the three mills of property tax is technically a new tax, it is essentially taking the place of a three-mill property tax that expired at the start of 2018.

In other words, voters paid a certain rate in 2017, and that rate went down three mills in 2018. But if the special tax passes in December, their taxes will increase three mills so that voters pay the same in 2019 that they paid in 2017.

The other two tax questions are simply rededications of taxes that are already being collected, and are not new taxes.

The resolution to call for the Dec. 8 special election passed unanimously.