Sulphur calls public hearing on property taxes

The City of Sulphur wants more money in property taxes next year--without having to go before voters. Property tax dollars received by local governments fluctuate according to the value of property and the rate charged to taxpayers.

New taxes and renewals have to be approved by voters. But under certain circumstances they can raise existing tax rates and collect more money without a vote of the people. On Monday, Sulphur council will hold a special meeting to vote whether to adjust rates upward as council member Stuart Moss explains. " We don't want to be in a position to where we might need revenue and we can't ever roll it up until the next cycle comes."

Next year is a reassessment year which means parish tax assessors will reassess property values and taxing districts lose their authority to raise rates. "If you don't take advantage of this at this point then you will lose it," said Moss.

Adjusting property taxes will allow Sulphur to collect $1.6 million. That's about $300,000 more in property taxes. So, if they approve rolling up the rates, what will they do with that additional $300,000? Moss: I'd have to defer that to what the council and the mayor decide to sit down to do. Where is it best fed into our budget. It's not earmarked at this point. I haven't voted on anything.

THe property tax adjustments will be voted on at a special city council meeting along with an increase in garbage and trash pickup of fifty cents per month per household or $6 a year. "It's an increase that is actually, if I'm correct, built into their contract," said Moss.

Council will also decide whether to extend a moratorium on permits for RV's, mobile homes and such until the city's master plan is complete.

The public hearing gets underway at 5 p.m. Monday, June 27 in the Sulphur Council chambers. The special meeting follows at 5:30 pm

By the way, since the ability to adjust rates up stops during reassessment year, we'll likely see some other public bodies do the same thing.