City of West Monroe Considers Raising Sales Tax Next Year

WEST MONROE -- The city of West Monroe is considering raising the sales tax next year. 
At a special meeting Friday morning, aldermen and the mayor met to formally announce those intentions. 

It's been 28 years since the city of West Monroe has seen an increase in sales tax. 

Mayor Dave Norris says the city has outgrown the current rate of 9.5% .

"The tax structure has been the same. We've had some growth and that's been good to increase our tax revenue but it hasn't been growing as fast as the needs have been," he said.

The biggest issue facing the city is matching pensions which have increased  $2 million dollars over the past 10 years. 

There's also pressure to keep up with infrastructure projects.  

On Friday, the mayor met with city aldermen to discuss raising the rate from 9.5 to 9.9%

"We've explored a lot of different options, including the millage option and increasing the fees for services and there's nothing that is as productive in terms of generating funds in an equitable manner as a sales tax would be," said Norris.

West Monroe would have to increase the millage rate to at least 25%, which puts an unfair burden on home and business owners. 

"The sales tax is paid in part by people who come here to shop," said Norris.

In order to increase sales tax revenue, the mayor says they have to continue to be aggressive with retail development. That includes developing this 60 acre plot of land facing Interstate 20.

The mayor says they're close to finding an anchor store to kick things off.  

"We have a very good prospect right now, we're not going to be talking about it until we can lock it up and make sure it's going to happen.  It's a possibility that will happen in the fall," said Norris.

The city council will decide in September if they want to place the sales tax increase on the December 6th ballot for voters to decide. 

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