BRUSLY — Mayor Joey Normand said Monday he’s no longer confident preliminary talks with other West Baton Rouge Parish officials will result in a positive recommendation regarding the amendment of the sales tax revenue formula for local fire districts.
During the City Council’s committee meeting Monday, Normand said he thought previous informal meetings with the mayors of Port Allen and Addis and the West Baton Rouge Parish president could lead to an amicable solution to the complex problem.
But a recent development seems to have caused a setback, he said; he did not elaborate about the issue.
“It has hit a snag,” Normand told the council. “There’s a lot of money hanging in the balance (and) there’s a lot of emotions involved.”
Normand has been discussing the fire sales tax distribution with town, city and parish officials since Addis Mayor Carroll Bourgeois cited a formula created by the parish government in 1991 to allocate revenue to each of West Baton Rouge Parish’s six fire districts.
According to previous news reports, the fire district formula uses a weighted average that takes 50 percent of an area’s population and 50 percent of its assessed property values to determine sales tax income for the fire districts.
The fire station serving Port Allen, the parish’s largest municipality, receives 50 percent of the sales tax revenue allotted for fire protection while the subdistricts serving Addis and Brusly get 9 percent and 17 percent, respectively.
The other three fire districts, which serve unincorporated areas, receive between 6 percent and 9 percent in sales tax revenue.
In November, Bourgeois said he wanted the 20-year-old formula to start using updated population data from recent census figures and the latest property value assessments, which would give Addis and Brusly a larger share of the sales tax revenue.
Port Allen officials said using updated population data and property value assessments in the current formula would mean a loss of about 13 percent to its Fire Department’s budget and possible layoffs.
By law, any new plan regarding the formula has to be agreed upon by officials in Addis, Brusly and Port Allen and the Parish Council.
Normand told the council Monday if the group he has working on the formula could not come up with a recommendation then things were back where they started.
“The formula stays the same unless someone decides to take legal action, legislative action or both,” he said.
“I talked to one of the other mayors this afternoon and he tried to encourage me not to get discouraged (but) I don’t think it’s looking too good right now.”