Posted: Jun 20, 2012 9:03 PM by Maddie Garrett
Updated: Jun 21, 2012 1:45 PM
Having too much money is an unusual problem for cities these days, but that's just what's happening in Youngsville. A one cent sales tax, dedicated to fund police protection, has generated a $1.3 million surplus.
Voters just approved different sales tax to fund a sports complex, and the city has the highest sales tax rate in the parish, at 9.5%. But now, over a million dollars of that money collected sits in the bank, unused.
"So I think it's only fair and responsible to look into going back to the voters now and asking them either to rededicate or rescind part of the tax if we do agree that we're taking in too much money to operate our police department," said Youngsville City Councilman Ken Ritter.
Right now, the one cent sales tax revenue can only be used for police protection. The $1.3 million surplus actually equals the police department's operating costs for an entire year. That makes for a rather large rainy day fund.
Back thirty years ago, when the sales tax was introduced, there were only a handful of businesses in Youngsville. Bow there are over a hundred generating revenue, and the council wants to shop around for different ways to use the money.
"The one cent was dedicated in 1981, (now) the dynamics are completely different in the city. That one cent is now generating a lot more revenue than the (police) department was able to grow," explained Ritter.
Ritter said the money could be used for other services, or the sales tax itself could be scaled back. But the council can't change anything without putting the issue to a public vote.
As for the police department, Chief Earl Menard was not available for comment Wednesday.
The Youngsville City Council would like to hear your opinion on the matter. The council is holding a special meeting next Monday, June 25th, at 6:00pm at city hall. The council wants the public's input on how to use the surplus and what to do about the sales tax.
The issue will then be brought up at the regular city council meeting on July 12, 2012.