The Ouachita Parish Police Jury (OPPJ) last night voted unanimously to create two new tax districts as vehicles to levy increases in sales taxes for drainage and road construction. The East Ouachita and West Ouachita Economic Development Districts are divided by the Ouachita river, and encompass all of Ouachita Parish, except the Cities of Monroe and West Monroe, and the towns of Sterlington and Richwood.
The East District sales tax increase, if approved by voters, would be $0.0139, and would collect about $2.8 million/year. The West District increase would be $0.0039, and would take about $1.8 million/year from the people.
The resulting sales tax rates would then be at a statutorily maximum of $0.0999.
Finance Committee Chair Walt Caldwell (District C) said that new taxes would allow the parish to do much more in large road and drainage construction projects.
Said Caldwell, “These funds would be used only in large capital projects; they’re not going to be used for pothole patching.”
See here a slideshow on the plan.
A vote on the proposed taxes will be set for Spring, 2016.
In other business, the jury adopted amended 2015 and proposed 2016 budgets.
For 2015, total revenues came in at $84.5 million, with expenditures of $83.8 million. For 2016 proposed revenues are $75.5 million, and expenditures of $81.1 million.
The jury also award an across the board cost of living raise of 2% to employees.