Sterlington, Sales Tax, Increase, Police Jury - KNOE 8 News; KNOE-TV; KNOE.com |

Sterlington Sales Tax Increase?

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STERLINGTON, La. (KNOE 8 News) - Sales tax is a hot topic, whether on a state or local level. This weekend many of us will vote to renew or increase sales tax in our parishes and communities.

A half-cent sales tax increase is up for a vote in Sterlington. Sterlington Mayor Pro Tem, Caesar Velasquez, says "it's very important that the people of Sterlington understand this. What is happening is going to effect our economic development in the longer term."

The Town of Sterlington says this new tax would make up for lost money in road and maintenance projects. That lost money became even more of an issue Monday Night, when the Ouachita Parish Police Jury voted to withdraw its offer to Sterlington. That offer would have given the community a half-cent sales tax increase over three years. The money raised would have allowed Sterlington to take care of its own roads, rather than the police jury.

Ouachita Parish Police Jury President, Shane Smiley, says "the agreement was made on September 17, 2012 as of Monday at the time of our meeting, the agreement still had not been signed."

In past agreements Sterlington received 1% of the sales tax collected. When it was up for renewal this time, the police jury cut that in half. Smiley says, "they were receiving a disproportional share of parish road funds, at a rate of about 2.8 times the amount that the rest of the parish was receiving."

Disproportional or not, now Sterlington is asking residents to fund the half percent they will no longer receive from the parish. This will make up the difference and bring in about $130,000 dollars if approved.

Even if voters approve the tax, the parish will be bound by law to take care of the roads in the community. Smiley says that's not something new. That's how the roads were maintained in Sterlington in the years prior to 2007.

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