LIVINGSTON – The Livingston Parish Council will wait until 2018 to seek a tax proposal for Recreation District 5 so they can determine the action to take after the Town of Livingston votes on a similar proposition April 29.
The Parish Council at its meeting Thursday called for the action after the voters nixed the proposal in the March 18 election.
Voters in the Town of Livingston will decide whether they will accept a 15-mill proposal to form their own district, which would remove it from the entity which also includes Colyell and Satsuma.
Then-Mayor Derral Jones of Livingston last September announced his intentions to break away from the district after a dispute with the other entities on allocation of money for recreational facilities. He told the Council the Town of Livingston would fund its own recreational programs.
If approved, the tax would generate just shy of $109,000 annually.
The Council, however, did not make a proposal to pull the Town of Livingston from Recreation District 5.
The tax in spring 2018 would not be a renewal, Governmental Consultant Jim Ryan told the Council, because it would possibly reflect the exclusion of the incorporated limits of the Town of Livingston from Recreation District 5.
Which direction the parish takes before the spring election would hinge upon the outcome on the Town of Livingston’s millage proposal April 29.
“If it passes, the logical step would be to amend the ordinance to create the district and remove the Town of Livingston from Recreation District 5 and put the rest of the resolution back on the spring ballot,” Ryan told the Council.
A proposal on the spring ballot would not jeopardize the 2018 funding, even if the tax expires at the end of December, he said.
The district could maintain regular operation because it would receive its influx of tax revenue in January and February, Ryan said.
“If you get it on the spring ballot, you would have time to put it on the assessor’s roll and get a full year of tax collection,” he said.
The tax for the Town of Livingston, however, would not fall under the homestead exemption, unlike the parish tax, which would make the 10-mill tax higher than the 15-mill setup currently in place.
Voters in Recreation District 5 are exempt on the first $75,000 of taxable value of their home. Louisiana state law, however, does not grant homestead exemption on municipal taxes, which means all homeowners in District 9 would pay taxes starting on the first dollar of value, on up, for the millage.
“My office has been getting some questions on this,” Livingston Parish Jeff Taylor said.
For the dual district, which encompasses the town as well as the non-incorporated entities of Satsuma and Colyell, the millage proposal fell under the homestead exemption.
Councilman Jeff Ard said his main goal is to ensure passage of the District 5 millage next year.
“We need to do it – there’s no two ways about it – and we need to do it with our without Livingston,” he said. “We need recreation.”