Tax elections scheduled in April

Published 10:13 am Thursday, December 23, 2021

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The city of Bogalusa plans to put two tax renewals on the ballot on Saturday, April 30, 2022, it was announced Tuesday during the Bogalusa City Council’s final meeting of the 2021 calendar year.

David Wolf, the city’s tax and bond attorney, explained that it made financial sense to put both renewals on the ballot at the same time. The city must pay the state for every election held, so it is beneficial to put multiple items on the ballot when possible.

The first tax renewal is 5 mills for garbage collection, which is the same renewal that failed in the November election. The second tax renewal is a 1/4-cent sales tax that is earmarked for the sewer system.

Wolf explained that typically there must be six months between elections on the same tax question — in this case, the 5 mills for garbage collection. However, the city council will be able to avoid that rule by declaring the April election as a special emergency situation. Hurricane Ida forced the delay of the most recent tax election from October to November.

Wolf also said that holding the election in April would allow enough time for a potential second election on the 1/4-cent sales tax renewal, if it initially fails. It is scheduled to expire in February of 2023.

The 5 mills for garbage collection failed initially in the Saturday, Nov. 13, election by a count of 606 votes (59 percent) for “no” and 429 votes (41 percent) for “yes.”

However, both Wolf and Bogalusa Mayor Wendy Perrette believed one reason for the tax’s failure was due to the fact that the ballot could not contain language such as “renewal” or “continuation.”

Wolf exclaimed that the State Bond Commission would not allow such language because technically the “purpose” of the tax collection was different, even if there was no raise and it had been collected for years.

Wolf said that previously every renewal of the 5 mills had been listed as being collected for the landfill. However, the city is no longer partial owners of the landfill, and therefore had to change the language to the more basic “costs of garbage collection and disposal.”

Wolf said that the 5 mills typically generates about $400,000 in revenue, and the 1/4-cent sales tax generates about $660,000 in revenue.

Wolf and Perrette encouraged city council members and members of the public in attendance to spread the word that both of these taxes are renewals that have been paid for years, and not new taxes.

In other news, the council:

  • Named officers for the 2022 council year. Kenny Kellis will serve as president, and Penny Douglas will be vice president.
  • Heard from representatives with Sisung Securities Corporation of New Orleans, who will provide municipal advisory services to the city. Perrette explained that the firm will allow the city to spend its money wisely and in the most efficient manner possible, especially when seeking grants and other types of outside funding.
  • Approved an ordinance authorizing the mayor to enter into an employment contract with Sisung.
  • Approved an ordinance authorizing the mayor to request proposals for replacing water meters as needed, including the hardware and software which is compatible with the current system.

The next meeting of the Bogalusa City Council will be Tuesday, Jan. 4, 2022, at 5:30 p.m.