New Ruston economic sales tax passes with generated money going towards development

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RUSTON, La. (KNOE) A new economic sales tax passes in Ruston.

The Ruston Board of Aldermen approved the 1.75% tax Thursday night during a special meeting.

It comes after four months of talks between city leaders.

During the meeting, the idea had split reviews.

"We need to slow down and need to assess the viability of our taxes on travelers through here and the residents of this city need to be careful with stewardship of our money," said a Ruston resident.

"It matched so clearly with our mission which is to bring visitors to town," said Travis Napper from the Ruston-Lincoln Parish Chamber of Commerce.

The tax applies to customers at restaurants and hotels within city limits.

That means customers will be footing the bill when eating out or staying in a hotel.

"We had a lot of support from almost all of our restaurant owners. We had a couple that were concerned and the hotels understand just like the restaurants do that the sports complex will bring a tremendous amount of business to their businesses," said Ruston Mayor Ronny Walker.

It's estimated the tax will generate roughly $1.75 million per year.

Mayor Walker says the money will add a new multipurpose gym, swimming pool, and more to their sports complex.

"The city does not own a gymnasium. Our swimming pool has been closed for two years. We don't have a senior center, so this gives us an opportunity to have some facilities that are first class."

The tax goes into effect New Year's day and lasts for ten years.