Jun 25, 2012 11:38 PM by Maddie Garrett
The city of Youngsville is trying to figure out what to do about a $1.3 million surplus for the police department. A one cent sales tax was put in place in 1981, specifically to bring in money for police protection.
But now it's bringing in more than the police department can use, so the city council is giving voters some options. They could either leave the tax as is, rescind part of it or rededicate some of the money to be used for other projects.
Monday night the council got to hear from the people during a public meeting. There were some concerns over cutting the police department short, but overall the voters and the council are open to a combination of options. One thing was made certain at the meeting, they don't want to pay taxes that wind up sitting in a bank account.
Youngsville Mayor Wilson Viator was clear that he wants the 1981 sales tax to be reworked so that some of the money could be available to other departments such as roads, fire department and recreation, in addition to police. Voter Dana Martin agreed.
"There are several different options that could be looked into rather than just leaving all of that money sitting unused in the police budge," explained Martin.
But Police Chief Earl Menard doesn't want to lose his rainy day fund. He said he's worried about any potential crises.
"History repeats itself and it could happen again and I have a concern about having enough money in case this would happen. They're talking about a rainy day fund, that's a surplus, so I have one but that's not ok," said Menard after the meeting.
Right now the police department has a $1.3 million annual budget already funded by the city. Police officer pay was also just increased. Still, some don't want to touch the tax revenues for police.
"I think it should essentially be left alone," said Tom Budetti.
Overall, most were open to the idea of rededicating a portion of the tax, such as half or a quarter, and making it available for other departments in need, especially fire and roads. Not many people were behind making it available for recreation though.
"We just passed a one cent sales tax for recreation and I think that we need to see where that goes and whether or not we would need that later on down the road before we did that," said Martin.
There was no consensus at Monday's meeting. The mayor wants a resolution to rededicate the 1981 sales tax on the ballot by November, but that means the council will have to all agree on the terms of that resolution soon, preferably in July.