There are times when you have to give politicians credit for thinking outside of the box and this is one of those times. Mayor Posey, the City Finance Director Pat Jones and Assistant Director Shawna Straub have done just that when coming up with a way to fund a new sports complex and fund some needed capital improvements without raising any new taxes. The City of Natchitoches has a one cent dedicated sales tax that has been on the books since the sixties that funds sewer and water projects that has served it’s purpose but has now built up a reserve. The Mayor would like to rededicate one half cent of this tax to fund a new sports complex and capital projects in streets, drainage, parks and recreation facilities, buildings, sewer and waterworks facilities. If approved by the City Council the rededication of this sales tax will be held on April 9th.
This new sports complex will be a joint endeavor between Northwestern State University and the City of Natchitoches that will provide a sports facility that will meet the needs of intramural activities at Northwestern and give the City of Natchitoches a top notch recreational complex that will give the City the ability to draw events from all over the state and beyond. This project will be done in phases and, when completed, will be a multi faceted complex that will provide a wide ranging recreational experience for all the citizens of Natchitoches.
When looking at how the Mayor and his team looked beyond a tax increase to get things done for Natchitoches, now is the time for citizens to start asking how we can apply this same technique to all governmental bodies in Natchitoches Parish; how they are funded, and if we can rededicate some of these tax dollars to more essential uses. The citizens of Natchitoches fund several governmental agencies that receive millions in local taxpayers dollars that have built up huge reserves over the years. In this time where the taxpayers of Natchitoches Parish are at their limit, we need to look at all these agencies to see if we can still afford them or downsize them. None of these governmental bodies should be off limits to review and we are not saying that they are not well run but here are just a few of the taxing bodies for example to consider: the Ambulance service, Cane River Waterway Commission, Library, Council on Aging and Natchitoches Parish Port. Again, when the taxpaying citizens are being asked to dig deep and pay more taxes to support government at all levels is it too much to ask that government at all levels make sure that our tax dollars are spent efficiently and wisely.