Consumers may not notice a 1% decrease in their total bill every time a purchase is made at retailers in the parish, but the Parish Government certainly will. The 1% sales tax for solid waste that expired Dec. 31 is squeezing an already tight parish budget.
The next available election to have the solid waste tax on the ballot is April 24. The proposal must be submitted to the Secretary of State by March 1. That deadline gives the Parish Council time to go through the proper channels and timeline to submit the proposal. If passed in April, collection of the tax would resume July 1.
The solid waste tax generated in excess of $200,000 per month according to Tax Commission Administrator Jerry McWherter. Trash pick up and disposal was paid first then any excess was transferred to the road fund at the end of the year. Effective Jan. 1, the sales and use taxes dropped to 3% in the parish, 4% in Clarence, Natchez and Robeline and 4.5% in Campti. The cost for those six months between Jan. 1 and July 1 when tax collection could resume is $1.1 million and will be paid by using revenue already collected, plus $500,000 that was transferred to the road fund from sales tax recently. Those funds were put back in solid waste to keep it operating.
Additional cuts, including $200,000 reduction in equipment and other areas will be necessary to keep trash collection operating. There are 44 people representing $654,000 in salaries, employed in these services This decrease in tax also means new forms for every business in the parish that collects sales and use taxes. McWherter publicized in the Times that the changes affect columns A, C, D, E and F on the sales tax form.
A new column for the City of Natchitoches, Economic Development District “D” (BD), is being added to the sales tax return located on Keyser Avenue at 6.5%. His announcement stated businesses outside the city limits of Natchitoches should make certain vendors were notified of the tax decrease and use the new sales tax form.
Any questions concerning implementing this tax should be directed to McWherter at 318-357-8871.