- Associated Press - Tuesday, December 9, 2014

LAFAYETTE, La. (AP) - New taxes will likely be among the recommendations from a Lafayette citizens’ committee that has been studying city-parish finances this year.

The Advocate reports (https://bit.ly/12IveRp ) the Future Needs/Funding Sources Committee met Monday to begin discussing its final report after months of hearing from city-parish department heads, staff and council members.

No consensus emerged on the details of a proposal, but the talk of how to deal with city-parish financial woes focused less on cuts and more on the need for boosting revenue for roads, bridges, recreation and other areas of the budget where funding has been tight for years.

Committee members were keenly aware any proposal for new or increased taxes might face stiff opposition.

“Number one is getting the community to trust again, because we have urgent needs for infrastructure,” said committee member Chad Hanks.

The City-Parish Council formed the Future Needs/Funding Sources Committee in February, and the five-member group is expected to make its recommendations to the council early next year.

The committee tossed around the possibility of special taxing districts for drainage in different areas of the parish and proposals for new sales taxes that would be limited to a few years of collections and dedicated to specific projects.

Committee member Sarah Walker cautioned that legally restricting too much tax revenue for specific projects could tie the hands of government and leave little wiggle room for managing the budget.

Most of the committee members seemed to agree on one issue: a parish-wide property tax is needed to support parks and recreation.

The current parks and recreation property tax is paid only by residents in the city of Lafayette, and money is pulled from other areas of the city-parish budget to operate and maintain parks outside the city limits.

The City-Parish Council would need to sign off of any proposal for new taxes or the increase of existing taxes.

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Information from: The Advocate, https://theadvocate.com

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