Port Allen officials say they are committed to reaching an amicable agreement with the mayors of Addis and Brusly regarding the fair distribution of $2.2 million in annual sales tax revenue among West Baton Rouge Parish’s six fire subdistricts.
Whether that will actually happen remains unclear, however.
Port Allen Fire Chief Rick Boudreaux gave the City Council a detailed report last week chronicling the informal meetings between parish officials and the mayors of Port Allen, Addis and Brusly since June 2011.
The talks since then have been aimed at finding the best way to amend the 20-year-old formula used to allocate tax revenue among the parish’s fire subdistricts.
“The ball is pretty much in the other mayors’ court,” Port Allen Mayor Roger Bergeron said Monday. “We’ve made concession after concession. At this point I don’t know what more I can do.”
West Baton Rouge Parish Council President Gary Spillman said he intends to meet with the officials discussing changes in distributing the tax revenue among the subdistricts to see if any recommendations can be agreed upon.
“If there is no agreement we’ll basically have to bring it back to (the Parish Council) and say we couldn’t come up with an agreement and do the process through the courts or Legislature,” Spillman said.
“I feel everyone will come out better if we can do it ourselves,” Spillman said. “I’m not going to say it’s dead, but there won’t be but a couple more meetings and then it will be over with.”
The formula, which was adopted by the parish government in 1991, has been a hot-button issue since the mayors of Brusly and Addis protested its use of outdated demographic information that they say unfairly denies them their rightful share of the revenue.
Port Allen receives 50 percent of the tax revenue while the subdistricts serving Addis and Brusly receive 9 percent and 17 percent, respectively. The three remaining subdistricts — Lobdell, Erwinville and Rosehill — share the remainder.
Brusly Mayor Joey Normand and Addis Mayor Carroll Bourgeois have said their towns have undergone significant population growth since the formula was adopted while Port Allen’s residential count has decreased, according to U.S. census data.
If current data was applied, Addis’ revenue share would increase by 6 percent and Brusly would receive an additional 8 percent in tax revenue, Boudreaux has reported.
Normand and Bourgeois have said they intend to take any actions, legislative or legal, to see that the formula is revised using fresh population figures from the 2010 U.S. census and the latest assessed property values.
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