By Carolyn Roy, Carolyn@natchitochestimes.com
Merchants in two economic zones in Natchitoches got a break from the City Council Monday when the members cut in half the threshold for rebates of taxes paid on supplies, materials, machinery and equipment. The City Council, in November of 2019, levied a one cent sales tax sales in two economic development zones, namely the Interstate-49 corridor and hotels in the city, to help pay for operation and maintenance of Parc Natchitoches. What was unknown at that time was that a sales tax must also be accompanied by a use tax that had to be paid by merchants in those districts.
In September of 2019, the council passed another ordinance that would offer a tax rebate to merchants in those two economic zones on purchases over $10,204 annually. At the meeting Monday, the council lowered that threshold to $5,102. The action will be retroactive to Jan. 1. Merchants must submit invoices quarterly to the Natchitoches Tax Commission. The vote to change the threshold was unanimous among councilpersons Rose Elie, Eddie Harrington, Dale Nielsen, Betty Sawyer-Smith and Chris Petite.
The council gave its final vote to demolish five residences that have been condemned. Demolition permits have been issued for 421 Julia owned by Patricia Shepherd of Conyers, Ga., and 420 Julia owned by Jacqueline Parker. Also condemned are 1003 Clarence Drive, that was owned by Freddy L. Bonner and has no windows or doors; 606 Sabine Alley owned by Bridget Michelle Demars; and 1413 Dixie owned by Marvin C. Rachal that burned three years ago. In other business, the council approved refinancing up to $4 million in utility bonds that will provide a savings of approximately $200,000.
The council approved a budget revision and transfer of $5,196 from the utility fund to cover expenses for capital projects, Christmas Festival, general fund and auto mall capital projects. The council introduced an ordinance that will amend language in the City’s lease to the National Park Service of 607 Trudeau. That location will be the office for the park service when it is renovated. The lease cannot be effective until the park service occupies the building.
The council passed a resolution that will authorize the Mayor to execute an agreement with La. DOTD for a grant to fund an obstruction removal study of trees at the airport. The $13,457 grant will fund the study using a drone on the west side of the airport.
Mayor Ronnie Williams Jr., announced that he will present his State of the City Address Monday, Feb. 1 at 7 p.m. It will be live streamed to the public and media on the City website at https://www.natchitochesla.gov/content/2021-state-city-address
The next scheduled City Council meeting will be Monday, Feb. 8 at 5:30 p.m.