Lee Waskom: Position Paper No. 3

Position Paper No. 3

As a Candidate for Parish President, I feel it is important to advise the public and ultimately take positions on Revenues, Expenses, Terms and Mandates. I am sharing my thoughts and positions as to how we attack the numerous fiscal challenges which are apparent and have not been addressed by the current leadership.

I look forward to discussing through this medium and others, my ideas to begin the slow process, necessary to identify, prioritize and ultimately begin to solve our road and infrastructure challenges.

I will share my specific Ideas, plans and positions as we go through this process over the next several days.

One of the biggest issues that remain problematic for citizens outside of Natchitoches city limits is our solid waste disposal. Detailed below are the revenues and expenses of how monies are collected and spent regarding this issue.

Many citizens have questions about the amount of revenues and expenditures of all areas of Parish Government. My goal through this position paper is to identify the sources of revenue and the areas of expenses to educate the public on Parish Government operations. I have learned through this process that we have a lot of work and decisions to make in order for our Parish Government to run more efficiently.

The Solid Waste Fund has three sources of revenue:

Rebate/Lease payments for use of the Transfer Station. This year, the Parish Government negotiated a new contract for its solid waste collection with Waste Connections. Under the prior contract, Waste Connections paid a $4.00/per ton rebate to the Parish for all MSW or Bulky Waste that it delivered to the Parish’s compactor station. Under the new contract, the operation of the compactor station was split out to a separate lease agreement which gives the Parish a more consistent source of revenue.

Landfill Dump Charges (Tipping Fees). The Parish charges a fee of $36/ton for all construction debris and/or wood waste dumped at the landfill
Sales Tax Fund. The majority of the funds generated by the 1 cent ($0.01) sales tax are dedicated to the maintenance and operation of the Solid Waste Collection and Disposal System for all areas of the Parish outside the City of Natchitoches. In the event of surplus generated by the sales tax, a portion is transferred from the Sales Tax Fund to the Highway Fund. Revenues are distributed monthly by the Natchitoches Tax Commission.
Expenditures for the Solid Waste Department can be split, primarily, into three areas: personnel expenses, solid waste collection, and maintenance costs.

The Parish maintains unmanned bin sites, controlled bin sites, manned compactor stations and the Parish Limb Pit. There are three full-time employees and an average of 45 part-time employees. This year’s budget allocated approximately 31% to cover costs associated with salaries and related benefits, training and office expenses. The remainder of the budget is allocated to cover costs associated with the collection of solid waste materials and maintenance of the bin sites and compactor stations.

Historically, the Parish Government has budgeted at least 25% of the anticipated sales tax revenues away from solid waste collection to support the Highway Department. This loss of funding greatly limits the ability to expand upon or improve the solid waste services currently provided to Parish residents. Annual increases in insurance costs and aging equipment are concerns for sustainability of the Solid Waste Department in future years.

The 1% Sales Tax is up for renewal in 2020. The tax was last renewed in 2010. In the event that the tax is not renewed, the Parish will lose almost 95% of its revenue for solid waste collection. I am committed to looking for ways to improve the operations of both the Highway Department and the Solid Waste Department in order to provide optimum service to Parish residents and instill the confidence of the residents needed for the tax to be renewed.


5 thoughts on “Lee Waskom: Position Paper No. 3

  1. Lee, would you also discuss the cost of Police Jury – vs – Home Rule Charter to the Parish, so that everyone understands the price we would be paying to go backwards?

  2. Lee where does the money go that the tax commission dispursed? And also the funds we collect from Winn parish for their trash?

    • All sale tax collected in the Natchitoches Parish are remitted to the entities in which the tax supports. The solid waste tax that Natchitoches Tax Commission collects is remitted to the finance department of the Natchitoches Parish Government by the Tax Commission as collected.

  3. Did I read that right? Waste Connections pays us for the smelly disgusting garbage they pick up? Why would anyone pay for that? Part of my utility bills goes to get the stuff off my property and as far away from me as possible.

  4. So, this 1% sales tax, everyone of us pays it but all of that money is used out in the parish for dumpsters? Is that right?

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