Next Tuesday, the residents of the city of Paris will have an option to start an infrastructure improvement plan through a sales tax. I believe a plan to address current and future deficiencies in our water and sewer infrastructure is a must. This idea is a plan and I believe the best avenue to begin our progress in these areas for a few reasons.
Our sales tax rate is much lower than other shopping areas and is a much more fair tax to our citizens because raising the tax will not make us uncompetitive when compared to other cities. In fact, there is no city the size of Paris or larger around us that would have a sales tax lower than ours if this passes.
If our city was comparable to other cities in tax rates, I would not be proposing this idea, because I would not want to make our city uncompetitive with others in any way.
The reason this tax is more fair for our citizens is it doesn’t put the entire burden on our citizenry like rate hikes would. Rate hikes generate money from only the 1,700 water customers we have and a 100 percent increase in rates would only generate $100,000 per year. The sales tax generates money from everyone who shops in Paris. Last week, at my family’s restaurant, a couple from Canada, passing through Paris, were eating. A few weeks ago, I performed a wedding ceremony for a couple from Indiana. Not only would we and those living around us be paying for our water and sewer improvements and better quality of water, but also people out of our county, state and even country.
The sales tax eliminates the fee you pay on sanitation. You will still receive the same level of service. This just simply restructures the way we collect money for residential trash service.
It changes from directly charging the individual homeowner or renter to collecting for residential trash through the sales tax. About $190,000, or about 35 percent to 40 percent, of this tax would subsidize trash, not even a half-cent of this tax will fund trash. About 60 percent to 65 percent will go to funding new improvements for water and sewer projects.
Other cities charge for sanitation, but when you go to other cities you pay for their police, fire, parks, etc. through sales taxes. In Paris you don’t. Utility customers are the primary source of revenue in Paris with no city sales tax to subsidize these departments. So the question is does it really make a difference what a city subsidizes? Sales taxes subsidize something in every city. In Paris, it would be residential trash and water and sewer improvements. When you go to the polls to vote you really need to consider this.
A tax study I found showed that for a one percent sales tax increase, the average citizen pays an extra $141 per year more in taxes. Free residential trash will save customers in Paris $144 dollars per year. So in closing, if I said I found a way to be fair to our citizens and surrounding community, save the average resident money, all while making major improvements to our water and sewer infrastructure over time, you would probably say sign me up.
A vote yes on Tuesday Aug. 13 does just that.
Thank you for reading and allowing me to share with you ideas to progress Paris.