The Lafayette City-Parish Council will meet in special session Tuesday to make a formal announcement about possible tax elections.
The meeting will be at 5:30 p.m. in the council chambers at City-Parish Hall.
The announcement states that the council "will consider a resolution or resolutions calling for an election with regard to certain taxes" at it’s May 15 meeting.
Councilman Bruce Conque explained that the announcement is necessary if a new tax or a rededication of existing taxes are to be placed on the November ballot.
Conque and several other council members have been working on an analysis of the city and parish revenues for some time now, in an attempt to address the continuing parish budget crisis. The group recently held a summit to review their findings with the public. To see our story about the summit click here. To read the presentation from the study group, scroll down. You will find a video of the presentation below the document.
The main issue is that the parish, which has numerous financial responsibilities, has a dwindling income that isn’t sufficient. Although voters approved "consolidation" years ago, that did not consolidate any income, because tax dedications can’t be changed with a home rule charter vote. That means no city money can be used to pay parish bills. The problem has been snowballing for years and has reached a crisis point.
"We heard from the summit that there was a need for new taxes, or a rededication of existing taxes," Conque explains. "We don’t know what we’re going to do, but the first opportunity to do something is the November election."
Conque said there are requirements in terms of notifications and announcements for these types of elections, and if the decision is made to ask for a tax or a rededication, this announcement would need to be made now. That doesn’t mean there will be an election – but if one is needed, this announcement must be made now, he explains.
"It doesn’t mean we have to call an election, it just gives us the option to do so," Conque explains.
The decision would have to be made prior to the May 15 meeting referenced in the announcement, he said.