What you need to know about the upcoming Sales Tax Election

NOTE – This is the eighth part of a series published exclusively in the Jackson Parish Journal regarding the upcoming sales tax election. Over the next several weeks we will look at among other things: what a sales tax represents, how the tax is derived, why parish officials feel that an increase is needed, where the additional funds will be applied and when the new tax rate, if approved, will take effect. Today – Possible changes at Solid Waste Department without tax revenue!

A basic law of physics states that for every action there is a reaction. Further definition of Sir Isaac Newton’s “third law” of physics, explains that in every interaction, there is a pair of forces acting on the two interacting objects. The size of the forces on the first object equals the size of the force on the second object.

What does that have to do with the upcoming sales tax election? The answer is simple. Without the additional funds being requested by the Jackson Parish Police Jury, changes are going to have to be made in order for the Solid Waste Department (SWD) to be able to continue to operate. During the March 11th meeting of the Jackson Parish Police Jury Operations Committee several future possible requirements were discussed.

(1) Dumping fees would need to be imposed: The discussion centered on modifying the current residential dumping permit for the landfill and begin charging contractors at the rate of $45/ton for dumping. The hope would be that residents with a Jackson Parish ID would still be able to use the dump for free but a fee may have to be charged for this as well. This is already in place in most parishes across the state.

2) Consolidation of bin sites: In order to reduce expenses of transportation of waste the Police Jury would pick up all bins at the existing road-side sites and consolidate them to one site on the existing properties designated for future bin sites. This would result in residents having to travel further distances in order to dispose of their waste.

3) Independent company to take over waste disposal: The Police Jury would no longer be able to afford to handle their own waste disposal and would be forced to outsource the service. This would mean fees that would be completely at the discretion of the disposal service company and subject to rise each year, would be charged to residents for their services.

(4) Local municipalities charged for dumping: Local municipalities, which now enjoy free waste disposal, would be forced to pay a dumping fee. It was recommended the rate would be set the same as for contractors, which was $45.00 a ton.

There was also discussion pertaining to an advantage of having the tax pass. That would be that the Police Jury would not ask to renew the existing 0.6% sales tax when it expires if the existing sales tax proposal passes. This was decided after the Committee reviewed the amount of revenue needed to run the operation and how much revenue would be estimated from the 1% sales tax. The Committee determined that the surplus collections from the current year until the expiration of the existing tax would be enough to cover the capital needs of the department and that the 1% would cover the annual expenses for the operation.

In the next edition: Changes in revenue/expenses at the Solid Waste Department over the last five years.

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