NEWS

Parish revenue collections rising

Wade McIntyre

Ascension Parish tax collections for the month of April moved up enough to bring year to date collections almost out of negative red figures.

A report to the Parish Council Finance Committee by the Finance Department show April collections for the East Ascension Drainage half-cent sales tax up 11.47 percent to $943,073, or $97,027 higher than the same month last year.

The 1-cent Sales and Use Tax District No. 1 collections were 15.73 percent higher, reaching $1,460,922, or $198,518 above the same time last year.

In Sales and Use Tax District No. 2, the one-half cent sales tax collection of $705,224 was 16.77 percent higher, or $705,224 more than April 2009.

Parish President Tommy Martinez said he was impressed that tax collections from motor vehicle sales were up for the first time in three years, though collections were still below April 2009.

The jump in collections moved each tax district to less than a percentage point of its projected collections for the first four months of 2010.

Martinez said he thinks the figures indicate the parish will start seeing a realistic picture of where it's finances are headed. “It’s good news, but I’m still cautiously optimistic.”

Councilman George Valentine said the petrochemical industry is seeing a little uptick in spending as companies are beginning to start purchasing.

Petrochemical collections for April, which fall under the parish 1-cent sales tax, edged up from $2,919,297.78  last April to $3,048,122.46 this year.