Ballot will list issue as new tax, not renewal in April
Source: Parish of Natchitoches
President John Richmond and the Parish Council learned Monday, Nov. 30 that a sales and use tax voted on by Parish residents in 2010 is set to expire Dec. 31, 2020. All bin sites will remain open and Parish residents will still be able to dump trash and limbs at the landfill free of charge.
Expiration of this tax will result in the loss of funds specifically dedicated to the Parish’s solid waste fund unless the voters of the Parish approve its continued collection. Since no ballot initiative was put before the voters in 2019 or 2020, the continued collection of this tax beyond Dec. 31of this year would have to approved by the voters in 2021.
The Parish Council will consider calling an election for the tax at their December and January meetings. If approved at those meetings, the initiative will be sent to the State Bond Commission for approval. Once approved at the state level, the initiative can be placed on the April 24, 2021, ballot.
If voters approve the continued collection of this tax to fund the solid waste department, the tax will become effective July 1, 2021. While the expiration of the tax will result in the loss of funds for the first half of 2021, there will be no interruption of services provided by the solid waste department.
The Natchitoches Times did a little digging into the issue.
We spoke with Secretary of State election program supervisor Jeremy George and learned the next election is March 20, 2021. The deadline to have a proposition to the Secretary of State is Dec. 23. That proposition would then have to go before the State Bond Commission for approval to be placed on the March 20 ballot.
The next available election is April 24. That deadline to submit to the SOS is March 1. That deadline gives the Parish Council time to go through the proper channels and timeline to submit the proposal. A resolution approved by the council is necessary to get the item on the ballot. If passed in April, collection of the tax would resume July 1.
The Times also contacted the Parish’s bond attorneys, Foley and Judell. It is under the bond attorneys umbrella of responsibility to notify the public entities of upcoming tax proposals that should be submitted for renewal. Foley and Judell did not return any of our calls as of press time. Sources told the Times the council was not notified of the impending expiration of the tax.
The solid waste tax generated in excess of $150,000 per month. Trash pick up and disposal was paid first then any excess was transferred to the road fund at the end of the year.
The approximate cost for solid waste operations for six months is $1 million.