Connect with us

U.S. News

Sales tax revenues rebound in Monroe



MONROE, La. – Monroe officials say the city may report a $4.3-million increase in the city’s sales tax revenues thanks to government stimulus funding in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Monroe City Council received the good news during its regular meeting Tuesday when it introduced an ordinance amending the city’s operating budget for the 2020-2021 fiscal year. The fiscal year ends April 30.

“Our fiscal year ends on April 30, so this is to reconcile our expenses and our revenue going into that cycle,” said City Council Chairman Doug Harvey.

Earlier this year, Mayor Friday Ellis’ administration projected a loss of sales tax revenues in comparison to the previous fiscal year, due to decreased spending during the pandemic.

“Earlier on in the year we made a budget modification assuming that we were going to have a major revenue impact based on COVID-19,” Harvey said. “That being said, we have had really great sales tax revenue considering the federal stimulus and a couple of other factors.”

According to Dan Richards, the city’s budget officer, the city recovered from the expected loss in sales tax and had an increase in the fund’s balance.

“We knew we were going to lose some revenue, so in May we went through the first amendment and revised the revenue down by $3.5 million, mainly from the sales tax, so when the fiscal year ended we had lost about $2-million in sales tax,” Richards said. “Since then we have recovered all that we have lost and then some.”

According to Richards, the city estimated it expected to record a $4.3-million increase, bringing the fiscal year’s total sales tax revenues to some $38.2 million. Sales tax revenues represent the largest source of revenues for the city’s $60-million annual budget.

“At the end of the day, sales tax revenue was a significant surprise for everybody,” Harvey said. “So the federal stimulus money is definitely having an impact.”

The city of Monroe received some $4 million in Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act reimbursements for public safety and COVID-19 related expenses, according to city documents.

On another front, the City Council signed off on advertising for bids to begin a $47-million project renovating and expanding the city’s water treatment plant.

During the City Council’s March 9 meeting, the council adopted a resolution authorizing the city to begin advertising bids for an expansion and renovations project at the city’s water treatment plant that would cost some $47,778,000.

After the City Council’s meeting earlier this week, Harvey said the city took all precautions when preparing for the project.

“It’s an exciting project that we went and bonded out a couple of years ago,” Harvey said.

“We’re at the point where they’ve done some valuable engineering. They’ve taken in several different pieces in case we run out of money in the project we can attack it in phases.”

Funding for the project would come from the city’s water capital funds and the capital infrastructure sales tax revenue fund, according to city documents.

City Council member Kema Dawson said her district has been waiting on the project

“I’m excited about what it’s going to do for the citizens in District 5,” Dawson said. “We have been waiting on this project.”

On another front, the City Council approved a request from the city’s Public Works Department to buy one 2022 Ford F-250 dump truck for $93,936.

The department would pay for the vehicle using the department’s capital account, which has a balance of $105,000.