Attorney: Police jury not obliged to share solid waste tax with New Roads

An attorney for the Pointe Coupee Parish Police Jury advised jurors Thursday night that the parish should not allocate any funds to New Roads to help the city subsidize the operation of its own residential trash service without first entering into an intergovernmental agreement with the city leaders.

Attorney Dannie Garrett told the jury it wasn’t under any legal obligation to give New Roads a portion from the 20 percent of a 1-cent sales tax dedicated for solid waste because it’s a parishwide tax that can be used at the jury’s discretion.

“There’s nothing in the language that mandates that portion of the parish tax be spent within a specified portion of the municipality,” Garrett said during the jury’s regular meeting Thursday night.

“There’s nothing that mandates y’all give that money to the city to help them operate their (solid waste) program.”

The Police Jury’s discussion about the sales tax revenue came a week after the New Roads City Council adopted a resolution asking the parish to fork over a portion of the revenue from the 1-cent sales tax.

The 20 percent portion of the sales tax that is used for solid waste generates approximately $600,000 annually.

The City Council adopted the resolution on the same night it also entered into a five-year contract for residential trash service with Republic Services.

The City Council granted Mayor Robert Myer the authority to break away from the parish’s garbage contract in September.

Myer has said the city wanted out of the parish’s trash deal because he was confident the city could secure a cheaper rate and provide additional services, such as recycling.

The city’s exit from the parish’s five-year contract with Progressive Waste Solutions is effective Feb. 1.

A Jan. 7 opinion from the state Attorney General’s Office, which Garrett also discussed with the Police Jury on Thursday night, reaffirmed New Roads was well within its rights to broker its own garbage deal.

“The mayor attacked our integrity and said we need to show some integrity by giving that money back to them; the attorney has said that’s impossible,” Juror Cornell Dukes read from a prepared statement Thursday night.

“I’m going to ask the mayor and council to show some integrity and bring their solid waste contract back to the parish.”

HEALTH BOARD: The police jury reappointed five incumbent members to Health Service District No. 1’s board of directors.

The action came after more than an hour of discussion stemming from Juror Justin Cox’s desire to replace a veteran on the board with someone he felt had better expertise and credentials to fill a spot on the volunteer-based board.

The lively discussion resulted in Juror Russell Young proposing the parish consider adopting new policies when making appointments to its various committees and possibly thinking about enacting term limits.

“We can actually make the change ourselves by not voting on friendship and political favors,” Cox said.