YOUNGSVILLE — The city of Youngsville will ask voters in November to rededicate half of a 1-cent sales tax that has generated a $1.6 million surplus for the city’s police department.
If approved, the proposition would last for two years and dedicate one-half of the tax to the police department while the other one-half cent could be spent on police and fire protection and other infrastructure improvements, Youngsville Mayor Wilson B. Viator Jr. said.
When approved in 1981, the 1-cent sales tax generated about $15,000 a month. In a letter that will go out to voters later this month, the city writes that the tax generates a monthly average of $135,606 while the police department’s monthly expenses average $74,986, leaving an average surplus of $60,619.
“It won’t affect the city police department at all because they’ll be able to use the other one-half and all the surplus,” Viator said. “Nobody pays taxes to have it in a savings account. They pay taxes to pay for services. The only one benefiting from it is the banks.”
The proposition, as it stands, has been publicly endorsed by the entire council and the Youngsville Police Department, Viator said.
Youngsville Police Chief Earl Menard did not return several calls to his office seeking comment.
Councilwoman Dianne McClelland said she fully supports the proposition because of “the services this extra revenue can provide.”
“During those two years, if a situation arises when the police department needs extra funding then the council will consider them first,” McClelland said.
The letter echoes that sentiment.
“The passage of this tax will allow the City Council to use this excess money on needed improvements such as roads, round-a-bouts, Fire Trucks, Fire Stations and Fire personnel.
“And, even though this half-cent will be rededicated, keep in mind that if the Youngsville Police Department experiences any unforeseen budget crisis, the City Council can use the rededicated funds in support of that department also,” the letter states.
The council and the police department’s primary concern was that the department’s operations were not “jeopardized,” McClelland said.