Sales tax proposal may be brought before the voters

Parish and city officials may be asking St. Mary voters to approve a new sales tax in November.
The proposal to levy a seven-tenths of 1 percent sales tax was introduced Wednesday night during the St. Mary Parish Council meeting when Chief Administrative Officer Henry “Bo” LaGrange said the council will call a public hearing on the issue on June 11 prior to considering the election call by resolution.
He added that if approved half of the proceeds would be allocated to the Sheriff’s Office with the remainder split among the parish and its five municipalities based on population.
If approved by voters on the Nov. 4 ballot, the sales tax rate in the parish would rise from 8 cents on the dollar to 8.7 cents. In Morgan City the rate would be 9 cents since residents there are levied an additional three-tenths approved by voters in 2011. The latter will expire after 12 years and is dedicated to road repairs.
Tabulation of an average of sales taxes collected over the past three years indicates the new tax would generate around $7.2 million per year with the sheriff’s share at $3.6 million and the parish’s at $1.4 million. LaGrange said the parish and municipal shares would be dedicated to law enforcement, and road and drainage improvements.
In other business Wednesday the council:
—Introduced ordinances levying the library and law enforcement taxes at the same rates for the 2014 fiscal year.
—Adopted an ordinance granting a specific use permit to Coastal RV LLC to establish as 96-lot RV park at 601 Lake Palourde Road, Amelia.
—Passed resolutions on a contract award to Gray’s Construction Corp., the lowest bidder ($996,000) on the construction of the Morgan City Industrial Road between Baker Hughes and Port Road; a request to the Department of Transportation and Development to lower the speed limit on La. 182 from Hedgerow Subdivision to Becky Drive west of Patterson, 55 mph to 45 mph, and along La. 317 from La. 182 through the Centerville High School zone, from 45 mph to 35 mph and to 25 mph during school opening and closing hours, as well as adding a crosswalk on La. 182 between the fire station and library in that area; an amendment increasing the contract with South Central Louisiana Human Services Authority by $175,000 per year for its management of Fairview Treatment Center; a $4,870 change order and ice of substantial completion on the seaway project Harry P. Williams Airport; opposition to Senate Bill 573 relative to the Airport Trust Fund and the Harry P. Williams Memorial Airport; and a cooperative endeavor agreement with the state on the reconstruction of Charenton Beach Road from La. 87 to the West Atchafalaya Basin Protection Levee.
—Approved a request by Councilmen David Hanagriff and Glen Hidalgo to transfer $12,500 from the Wards 1, 2, 3, 4, 7 and 10 three-tenths sales tax fund to Community Action Agency for the Verdunville/Centerville Enrichment Summer Program.
—Reappointed John Higdon, Ulysses Knight Jr. and Larry LeBlanc to Fire Protection District 2 Commission.

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