Livingston tax revenue rises

Livingston Parish sales tax revenues rose 10 percent in 2012, parish records show.

Parish officials interviewed said they expect the upward trend in tax receipts to continue during 2013.

With December sales tax revenues rising 7 percent compared to the same month in 2011, the parish has now shown increases for 27 straight months.

For the year, total sales tax revenue in the parish rose to $73.8 million, compared to $67.1 million in 2011.

“I don’t think we’ve peaked,” said Mike Curtis, who heads the parish’s sales tax collection program. “We’re still climbing.”

Curtis said there are enough new businesses expected to open in the parish during the current year to keep the economy moving.

Parish President Layton Ricks said he expects growth in the medical field to follow the openings of Our Lady of the Lake Livingston in Walker and North Oaks Health System in Satsuma.

He said he expects a number of other new businesses and business expansions this year to keep sales moving in the parish for 2013 and said the expected opening of Juban Crossing in 2014 should continue that trend.

Another positive sign for sales taxes this year is that the Sam’s Club store in the Denham Springs Economic Development District will see a full year of sales, rather than the half-year of sales it rang up since opening in 2012, officials said.

Sales in the district were lagging behind those of 2011 by 5 percent until midyear when Sam’s opened in the district, which includes the Bass Pro Shops store.

Bolstered by the Sam’s Club sales tax revenues, district finished the year with a 45 percent increase in sales tax collections.

About 71 percent of the sales taxes from the district go toward paying off $50 million in bonds sold to create infrastructure and help with construction of the Bass Pro store.

Nevertheless, about 29 percent of sales taxes from the district still flow to the other agencies that eventually will collect 100 percent of sales taxes from the district once the bonds are paid off in about 10 years.

Durbin said that situation helped Denham Springs, which saw its sales tax receipts rise 4 percent to $6.8 million in 2012.

The expected opening of another hotel and another restaurant in the city this year should help boost 2013 sales tax revenue, especially if additional development in the development district occurs as hoped, Durbin said.

He said he expects to see “continued high-dollar investments” in the city.

Walker Mayor Rick Ramsey said he is “cautiously optimistic” about sales tax revenues in the coming year.

Sales taxes, which rose 9 percent to $3.7 million in Walker in 2012, make up a large part of the city’s budget, he said.

Motor vehicles sales taxes rose 13 percent, from $10 million in 2011 to $11.4 million in 2012, parish records show.