CLINTON — The East Feliciana Parish School Board’s Finance Committee will meet Monday to consider whether the school system should continue exempting sales taxes on equipment repair work sent to local firms from out-of-state clients.
Under heavy pressure from business and economic interests, the board voted 8-4 Tuesday to send the issue to the committee, rather than resume an exemption that expired in 2010.
The School Board levies a 2 percent sales tax in the parish, while the Police Jury levies a 3 percent sales tax.
The vote came on a substitute motion by Olivia Harris and Broderick Brooks, who said they wanted time to study and better understand the tax exemption.
Board President Michael Bradford, Paul Kent, Melvin Hollins, Rufus Nesbitt, Debra Spurlock and Richard Terrell joined Harris and Brooks in sending the matter to the committee, which meets at 5 p.m. Monday.
Elizabeth Dawson, Benjamin Cupit, Mitchell Harrell and Rhonda Matthews voted against sending the sales tax issue to the committee, instead favoring a permanent tax exemption.
The School Board and Police Jury agreed to allow the tax exemption for three years, but the jury’s legal adviser said the exemption was “overlooked” after it expired in 2010. The jury voted July 2 for a permanent exemption of its tax.
Several businessmen, including Richard Harkrider, president of Southern Emergency and Rescue Vehicle Sales in Clinton, told board members the tax is not collectable because out-of-state clients refuse to pay it on their repair work.
Baton Rouge tax attorney David Gunn also said if the board does not approve the exemption, the issue could wind up in litigation.
Other topics before the board included:
SCHOOL RELOCATIONS: Bradford set up a committee to study the possibility of relocating the parish’s middle and high schools. When the board consolidated those schools in 2010, the high school was established in Jackson and the middle school in Clinton.
Committee members are Paul Kent, chairman, with School Board members Matthews and Cupit, Superintendent Henderson Lewis Jr., James Bell, maintenance supervisor, and Joyce Kent, transportation support supervisor.
Bradford also named Wilson Mayor Marilyn Broadway, Willie Coleman Jr., Jean S. Lanoue and Edward Butler as members representing the community.
NEW APPOINTMENTS: The board also approved the superintendent’s recommendation for hiring Edna Lusk Thomas as Title 1 director, Mavia Marsalis as child welfare and attendance and personnel supervisor, and Sharon R. Jones as district literacy leader.