Funding Local Government


Local property and sales taxes and user fees largely pay for the cost of local government services.

Property Taxes

  • Property taxes are paid on value of land, buildings, and business equipment. 
  • Value for property taxes is set by the Lafayette Parish Assessor. 
  • Elections for tax propositions are called by any of the representative (legislative) bodies: Lafayette Consolidated Government, the five municipal councils, and the School Board.
  • Voters vote for or against the amount of property tax rate, called a millage rate.
  • Property taxes are collected annually by the Lafayette Parish Sheriff as the ex-officio Tax Collector.

Most parish property taxes are restricted (“dedicated”) by the voters to very specific purposes. For example, monies for parish roads and bridges cannot be spent on public libraries. 

Where Do Parish Property Taxes Go?

Over 68% of parish property taxes collected by the Sheriff are not for the use of Lafayette City-Parish Consolidated Government.   They are forwarded directly to these other units of government:

  • Bayou-Vermilion District
  • Lafayette Parish School Board
  • Lafayette Parish Sheriff's Office
  • Lafayette Parish Assessor
  • Lafayette Regional Airport Commission
  • Downtown Development Authority (City of Lafayette only)
  • Lafayette Economic Development Authority
  • Teche-Vermilion Fresh Water District (multi-parish tax)

Part of the remaining property taxes left for Lafayette Consolidated Government pays

  • transfer of tax revenues to the costs of Lafayette Parish Public Library System
  • mosquito abatement costs
  • debt service
  • road and bridge maintenance
  • drainage maintenance

The rest goes to Lafayette Consolidated Government’s General Fund.  From this share, LCG pays some other state-regulated costs of:

  •  15th District Judicial Court Judges, District Attorney, Clerk of Court, courthouse complex
  • Coroner, Justices of the Peace, Constables, Criminal Jurors
  • Homeland Security & Emergency Preparation
  • building and maintaining the parish correctional center and providing daily care of the inmates
  • War Memorial Building
  • juvenile detention center
  • Lafayette Parish Health Unit
  • Combined Public Health (mosquito control & animal control shelter)
  • drainage maintenance
  • road and bridge maintenance
  • repayment for bond issues for capital improvements
  • parks and recreation costs for the parish portions of Lafayette Consolidated Government

After these taxes are nly 2.5% of the parish property taxes are not dedicated or committed to the parish’s responsibilities. This 2.5% is the amount of the General Fund of Lafayette Consolidated Government that can be spent on other priorities for Lafayette Parish.  In the 2015-2016 proposed budget that total is

Where Do City Property Taxes Go?

City property taxes are collected by the Sheriff’s Office annually for five of the six municipalities of Lafayette Parish. Their revenues are for use only within their city limits.  Property taxes must be passed by a majority of the city’s voters. Broussard residents do not pay city property tax.

Municipal property taxes are also mostly dedicated to specific purposes depending on the municipality.  These include:

  • Streets & roads
  • Police and fire protection
  • Parks & Recreation
  • General Funds
  • Water services

Sales Tax

State of Louisiana sales tax is 4% on taxable purchases.

Local sales taxes are charged for consumer goods at the point of purchase of tangible personal property and certain taxable services as a percentage of the amount of purchase.  Each sales tax levy (percentage) must first be approved by a majority of the registered voters in that jurisdiction to be enacted. Sales taxes in Lafayette Parish are usually restricted (dedicated) to specific uses by the voters.  

Where Do Local Sales Taxes Go?

  •  Lafayette Consolidated Government sales taxes are dedicated 2/3’s to street improvements, building construction, and drainage, and 1/3 to the General Fund. The 1 cent  City of Lafayette 1965 tax exempts food for home preparation and for prescription drug items.  The 1 cent Airport Commission 2015 tax also exempts these items.
  • The School Board’s sales taxes are dedicated to teacher salaries, school operating expenses, materials of instruction, and educational programs, and capital improvements if any is left over. The 1/2 cent School Board 1988 and the 1/2 cent School Board 2002 tax exempt food for home preparation and for prescription drug items.
  • The smaller municipalities’ sales taxes are dedicated variously to streets and roads; sewers and sewage disposal; drainage; debt on general obligation bonds; sidewalks and bridges; public buildings; fire & police stations, their equipment, and salaries; capital improvements; recreational facilities and programs; street lighting,
Local sales taxes are collected by the Sales Tax Collection Office of the Lafayette Parish School Board.   The state sales tax is collected by the Louisiana Department of Revenue.  The taxes are divided and redistributed this way, out of every dollar collected:

                                                    4/1/2015 through 11/30/2015

                                            SALES TAX on a DOLLAR *


Where
Bought
 State Tax  City/
Town
Tax
 Econ. Dev. Dis. Tax  Parish & Sheriff
Law Enforce-
ment
SSchool
Board
School
Board
 Airport Comm.


 Total Sales
Taxes

Lafayette

  4 cents

   2 cents

       -

      -

  2 cents

 
   1
 cent

   9 cents

Lafayette, C-3**

  4 cents

   2 cents

  1 cent

      -

  2 cents

 
    1
  cent

   10 cents

Unincorporated

  4 cents

       -

      -

2 cents

  2 cents

 
    1
   cent

   9 cents

Broussard

  4 cents

   2.5 cents

      -

      -

  2 cents

 
     1
    cent

    9.5         cents

 Broussard
Annexation
Within St. Martin Parish, E-5
 
   4
 cents
 
    2.5 cents
 
        -
 
       -
 
    -
 
     -
 
6.5 cents

Carencro

  4 cents

   2 cents

      -

     -

  2 cents

 
      1
    cent

   9 cents

Carencro, G-7**

  4 cents

   2 cents

  1 cent

     -

  2 cents

 
       1
     cent

   10 cents

Duson

  4 cents

   2 cents

      -

     -

  2 cents

 
       1
     cent

   9 cents

 Duson Annex.
Within Acadia
Parish, I-9
 
    4
 cents
 
    2 cents
 
       -    
 
       -
 
     -
 
       -
 
    6 cents

Scott

  4 cents

   2 cents

       -

     -

  2 cents

 
       1
      cent

   9 cents

Scott, Apollo, K-11**

  4 cents

   2 cents

  1 cent

     -

  2 cents

 
        1
       cent

   10 cents

Scott, Destination Pointe, L-12**

  4 cents

    2 cents

  1 cent

     -

  2 cents

 
         1
        cent

   10 cents

Youngsville

  4 cents

3 ½ cents

      -

 

     -

  2 cents

 
          1
         cent

 10.5               cents

 *Codes for Economic Development Districts, adopted from Sales Tax Office, Lafayette Parish School Board

**Locations of Economic Development Districts

Lafayette C-3 I-10 @ Mile Marker 103 (area south of I-10 at Louisiana Avenue)
Carencro G-7 I-49 Corridor (businesses along and near I-49 from the northern-most corporate limits along I-49 and on the north side of Gloria Switch Road intersection)
 Scott K-11 Apollo (area south of I-10 at Highway 93 along the frontage road and south down Apollo Road to Dulles Dr.)
 Scott L-12 Destination Pointe  (Undeveloped area in the northwest corner of the I-10 clover leaf at Louisiana Highway 93.

Economic Development Districts, referred to as EDDs, are located within city limits. They are also called Tax Incentive Financing or TIFs.  The additional 1 cent sales tax was passed by the city council of those cities.  State legislation authorizing economic development districts does not require passage by city voters. The purpose is to bring in revenue for items such as frontage roads to encourage new businesses to locate in the Economic Development District.  

Other:

At the request of the Lafayette Consolidated Government City-Parish Council, the state legislature authorized Lafayette Consolidated Government to levy a 4 cents hotel/motel occupancy tax. People staying in a hotel in Lafayette Parish are subject to pay an occupancy tax of 4 cents on a dollar, in addition to 8 cents total sales tax.  The occupancy tax revenue generated is allocated to the Cajundome Commission and the Lafayette Parish Convention & Visitors’ Center.

User Fees

User fees include charges for services, fees, penalities, and forfeitures.

User fees make up a larger part of the  funding for some units of government than for others. The Lafayette Regional Airport Commission, the Lafayette Utilities System within Lafayette Consolidated Government, and the Office of the Clerk of Court are examples.

What Are Some Examples of User Fees?

 Rental of public facilities  Recording and filing costs
 Green fees for golf  Charges to commercial airlines
 Utilities (water, sewage, garbage, electricity)  Marriage Licenses
 Permits for construction  Court fines
 Registration for athletics, summer programs  Franchises to operate a business
 Admission tickets  Penalties for violation of ordinances
 Leases  Speeding tickets
 Copying and recording fees  

Federal and/Or State Funds

Most local units of government receive some federal and/or state funds.

Federal and/or state dollars contribute to funding local governments of Lafayette Parish.  Federal and state budgets depend on many considerations year to year and have been generally reduced in recent years.  The budgets of many of the units of government in Lafayette Parish change annually according to their level of federal and state funding.   Some of the federal funding is in the form of short-term grants. 

Issuing Bonds to Raise Money

 Bonds are issued by a parish unit of government or a municipality for large capital improvement projects, such as building or improving libraries, schools, roads and bridges.  Bonds are repaid by either the future income of the unit of government or by an additional property millage approved by the voters or user fees.

 The Lafayette Parish Waterworks Districts North and South, Lafayette Parish School Board, Bayou Vermilion District, City of Lafayette, Lafayette Consolidated Government, and the Lafayette Public Power Authority, and each of the five smaller municipalities have all issued bonds to borrow money in recent years.  Some of these bonds are paid up (matured) and some are still to be paid.

Separate Funds for the City of Lafayette within Lafayette City-Parish Consolidated Government (LCG)

City of Lafayette funds can only be used for the City of Lafayette.  Parish government funds can be used for both the unincorporated areas and any of the municipalities in Lafayette Parish.  However, as parish funding is so limited, it is generally used for the needs of the unincorporated areas and other Constitutional responsibilities.

 The net assessed value (after subtracting the homestead exemption) for property taxes within the City of Lafayette is about three times the net assessed value for property taxes within the unincorporated areas and more than three times the net assessed value of the other five municipalities combined. (In 2010, City of Lafayette 61%, unincorporated areas 21%, total of other 5 municipalities 18%).

 Lafayette Consolidated Government provides support to the other five municipalities of Broussard, Carencro, Duson, Scott, and Youngsville as requested and approved through their local council and the LCG City-Parish Council.  The municipality pays LCG for the assistance on each project.

Separate Accounting According to a Formula

City of Lafayette sales and property taxes are paid into the city of Lafayette’s separate funds, along with revenues made by the city of Lafayette’s Utilities System.  There is separate accounting for all revenues and expenses for both the city of Lafayette and the parish of Lafayette. 

Work done within the city of Lafayette and work done elsewhere in the parish of Lafayette are recorded hourly for each job.  The City of Lafayette pays for the city’s share from the city’s funds for the staff, facilities, equipment, the work done and services received.  The parish of Lafayette’s share is paid from the parish of Lafayette’s funds. 

The city’s share and the parish’s share are percentages figured in each cost center by an independent study every two years according to an allocation schedule.   For example, the City of Lafayette pays 84% of the annual costs of the Chief Administrative and Chief Financial Officers while the parish’s share is 16%.  Sharing the costs for the Office of Emergency Preparation-Civil Defense, however, is a 50-50 split.

Single Budget of Lafayette Consolidated Government

The single budget of LCG separates the use of the funds of the parish from the funds of the City of Lafayette for each operational cost. Throughout the yearly activities of LCG, the cost to the parish and to the city of Lafayette are charged to their fund accounts.  

The annual budget of LCG is reviewed, revised, and approved by the City-Parish Council.  There is one annual financial report and one annual audit, each approved by the City-Parish Council.

Benefit to the City of Lafayette from the ILOT (In Lieu of Taxes)

The ILOT (in lieu of taxes) payment is the payment made by a city-owned utility to its local government, the City of Lafayette. It is allowed in the United States to compensate for the loss of taxes that would be paid as a franchise fee by a private utility to the local government. In the City of Lafayette’s case, the ILOT includes a percentage for electricity, water, television, cable, telephone, and internet.

Because the city of Lafayette owns the Lafayette Utilities System, every year the city of Lafayette is paid  an ILOT payment by its Lafayette Utilities System—about 9% of utilities gross receipts at present. The ILOT from the Lafayette Utilities System makes up about 22% of the city of Lafayette’s General Fund. The money is a little more than the total yearly costs of the city of Lafayette Fire Department. 

How Can Voters Oversee How Local Tax Dollars Are Spent?

  • Be an informed voter for tax referendums
  • Get the  big picture and the details
  • Attend meetings and annual budget hearings of the units of local government
  • Review the annual budget of units of government
  • Review the required annual Financial Reports completed by professional auditors at the Louisiana Legislative Auditor website, http://app1.lla.state.la.us/PublicReports.nsf, then click “by parish,” then click the + sign for Lafayette.
  • Review available publications, such as Lafayette Consolidated Government’s “Citizen’s Guide to the Budget,” and Lafayette Parish School Board’s “Where Does the Money Go?”
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