City Council member Eddie Harrington made a motion to add an item to the agenda at Tuesday night’s City Council meeting, Nov. 13. The item was in reference to back taxes owed by Chateau St. Denis. Local hotel owner Jay Sharplin voiced his concerns at a pre-council meeting. He wanted to know where the City Council stood and if it would pursue payment of the back taxes owed.
City Attorney Ron Corkern said when the hotel first opened they were told by Natchitoches Tax Commission Administrator Jerry McWherter that they wouldn’t have to pay taxes on a $9.95 “value added” fee they charge on top of their room rates.
The Natchitoches Tourist Commission asked for an Attorney General opinion in May, which came back July 1. The hotel paid taxes from July 1 to the present, but it remains unclear as to what will happen with the back taxes.
“It doesn’t look good to business owners and people paying taxes,” said Sharplin. “ I just want us to do the right thing here.”
While Corkern said he personally feels the hotel hasn’t done anything wrong, Harrington said what it boils down to is that the City has been short changed in taxes. Questions was raised. Are the back taxes legally still owed? Does McWherter have the authority to make that legal binding determination, so that if there’s a similar mistake in the future, does he not have to go back and collect it? Is it up to the hotel to repay the back taxes or the Tax Commission? Does the Tax Commission have an errs or omissions type clause insurance?
Harrington’s motion to add a resolution to the agenda to address this issue was unanimously approved. The resolution itself was approved with Councilman Dale Nielsen voting against. It will ask the Tax Commission to provide the Council with a legal explanation on why the back taxes should not be collected, or if they are collectable, how things will move forward to do so, or if a compromise can be reached.
In other news, the Council received a visit from Miss Merry Christmas Kerrie Spillman and her Christmas Belles: Katie Aldredge, Haley Franks, Sarah Hicks, Kate Methvin, Bailey McConnell, and Callie Owsley.
Other agenda items included:
Declare November 24, 2018 As Small Business Saturday
PLANNING & ZONING – INTRODUCTION:
Change Zoning Classification Of Ribfin Smokehouse & Restaurant, located at 5386 University Parkway, From B-3 Commercial To Additional B-A Zoning To Sell Beverages Of High And Low Alcoholic Content For Consumption On Premises.
ORDINANCES – FINAL:
Execute A Lease In Favor Of Air Data Solutions, Of A Portion Of Lot 1a Of The Natchitoches Regional Airport As Shown On The Airport Layout Plan Of April 27, 2001, By Alliance Incorporated And Further Providing For Advertising Of The Lease And An Effective Date.
Authorize A Franchise In Favor Of Phillip Paul Lohr, Doing Business As Paul’s Party Boats To Operate A Tour Boat Business Within The City Limits Of The City Of Natchitoches, Confirming The Term Of The Franchise, Conditions, And Considerations For Said Franchise And Authorizing The Mayor To Execute The Said Franchise Agreement On Behalf Of The City Providing For Advertising, Further Providing For Severability, And Further Providing For A Repealer And Effective Date Of Ordinance.
ORDINANCES – INTRODUCTION:
Amend And Re-Adopt Section 22-36 Of The Code Of Ordinances, Which Said Section Is Within Article III, Entitled “Cane River Lake” Of Chapter 22 Entitled “Parks And Recreation”, Said Section Being Amended And Re-Adopted To Provide For New Regulations Governing Watercraft Operation During Fireworks Displays, Providing For Advertising, Further Providing For Severability, And Further Providing For A Repealer And Effective Date Of Ordinance.
Amend Chapter 19 Of The Code Of Ordinances Of The City Of Natchitoches By Adopting Article VIII, Which Is Titled “Food Cart/Truck Vendors”, And Providing For Permitting And Regulation Of Food Cart/Truck Vendors In The City Of Natchitoches, Providing For Application For Same And Fees, Providing For A Savings Clause, A Repealer Clause, And Providing For An Effective Date Of The Ordinance.
Award The Bid For East Natchitoches Water Main Replacement, Phase I (BID NO. 0613)
Obligate Funds To Land And Water Conservation Fund Project.
Approve A Temporary Site License With New Cingular Wireless Pcs And Authorizing The Mayor Of The City Of Natchitoches, Lee Posey, To Execute Same On Behalf Of The City.
Enter Into A Contract With Employers Risk Management Services As The Workers Compensation Third Party Administrator For The City.
The next scheduled City Council meeting will be November 26, 2018.
The City of Natchitoches offices will be closed Thursday, November 22 and Friday, November 23, 2018 for the Thanksgiving Holidays.