Parish revenue exploding

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Sales taxes up 32 percent in first quarter of 2006


Staff Reporter

LAPLACE – For the second consecutive year St. John Parish is seeing an increase in sales tax revenue with about an additional 32 percent over last year’s revenues for the first three months of 2006.

In the first quarter of 2006, St. John Parish has collected just under $5 million in sales tax compared with about $3.3 million for the first quarter of 2005.

Chief Administrative Officer for the St. John Parish Council, Natalie Robottom, attributes the increase partially to an influx of people due to Hurricane Katrina but says it was something the parish was starting to receive even before that.

&#8220I think our population is starting to level off, however, there may be people coming in to purchase things here that aren’t available in the towns where they are,” Robottom said. &#8220Many new businesses and homes being built were already in the works before Katrina.”

The sales tax revenue is divided amongst necessary parish departments including the fire departments, public works, economic development and fire personnel.

While the revenues over last year may be higher, additional expenses offset some of the increase said Robottom.

&#8220With an increase in population and an increase in sales tax comes the need to increase services,” Robottom said.

Not only are increases in services for parish residents going to occupy the tax revenue, increases in necessities for parish employees such as insurance and fuel are also being afforded due the additional revenue.

&#8220Obviously our projections for fuel are much lower than the actual cost, so any type of increase in those funds is helpful,” Robottom said. &#8220Also, insurance costs rose for our employees but we have money across the different funds to help pay for that.”

Robottom said that typically sales tax revenues continue to increase as years pass, or at least level off, but she’s not expecting a decrease anytime soon and looking forward to the future.

&#8220This clearly has been something positive for the community and we’re looking forward to this continuing,” Robottom said.