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LC council will look at possible quarter-cent sales tax at next meeting

Last Modified: Friday, August 15, 2014 10:25 AM

By Justin Phillips / American Press

The conversation about a quarter-cent sales tax began publicly for city officials in early July. Those talks fell in line with the 30 days’ notice that has to be given for any public hearing discussing the tax. At the City Council’s next regular meeting Aug. 20, members will look at a resolution to consider calling a quarter-cent tax election for Dec. 6.

Lake Charles now collects a quarter-cent less in sales tax than any other area in the parish. Not only would the tax put the city on par in terms of sales tax, it could also be used to address some of the city’s financial needs.

The recent lawsuit the city settled with members of the Lake Charles Police Department over supplemental pay will cost the city $2,129,651.91. The amount will be paid out of the city’s general fund in installments over four fiscal years.

The city’s salary survey is another factor officials have listed as making the tax necessary. With a proposed economic boom on the horizon, the salary survey will be used to determine what adjustments need to be made by the city to its pay plan for career service and non-career positions and to the civil service pay plan for firefighters and police officers. Money from the city’s general fund would be used to make those changes.

Officials have also cited the city’s higher-than-average employer retirement contribution rates as a reason for the tax. The prediction for those rates is that they will continue over the next few years, costing the city an additional $2 million each year. Officials said this amount will also come out of the city’s general fund. Rounding out the city’s list of financial factors are enhancements to roads, drainage, utilities and public safety services.

At the council meeting in July when Mayor Randy Roach began the discussion over the tax, he talked about how the tax is a result of these factors combined.

“At some point you have to ask yourself, ‘Can we continue to do what we need to do for our residents, the citizens of our community and be able to meet the demands that are being placed upon us with economic growth and development given the posture of the revenue structure that we have?” he said.

Posted By: Andrew On: 8/19/2014

Title: Taxes

Well gee, the city gets sued every few years by the police and fire departments. All because they are greedy and want more money. And yet the people keep voting in Randy Roach. I mean really, is there anything significant he has done for the city to grow since he's been in office since 2000? Has he really been a good steward of not only the city's money but the very idea of the city? I mean, has he promoted annexation and growth?
No! On the contrary he and the good ol' boys don't want the city to grow.
Annexation's the only way this city will be better. Many areas south of town which are already developed should be annexed into the city. They use the services, so they should pay for them. That's only fair and just. This will bring an increase in the property tax revenue.
When there are problems a true leader leads you to the best solution. The city hasn't had a good leader in a while.

Posted By: Shelly On: 8/15/2014

Title: Tax increase

Please do raise our taxes.
Be better stewards of the tax dollars that you already get from us.

Posted By: Oscar On: 8/15/2014

Title: Tighten up

Respectfully the City needs to become more efficient with the tax revenue that they have. Private companies and citizens have to do this all of the time.
When was the last time the city underwent a true outside audit of its practices?
The fact that the city currently collects less than any other municipal body in the area is not a justification for an increase in tax revenues .
Mark my words fellow citizens we must fight this because the parish will be asking for ann increase as well.
Possibly we need some business people to help run the city?

Posted By: Shirl On: 8/15/2014

Title: Possible quarter-cents sales tax

seems to me the combination of everything that causes the tax structure to be short should have been thought of when the 9% took effect. The other townships increased theirs because they didn't have the casinos as a tax base. That's too bad. The services we receive in no way justifies a .25 tax increase.

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