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|Voters to consider tax proposals in November|
The Monroe City Council agreed Tuesday to call a special election in November for five tax renewal propositions and a new tax measure to help pay for the construction of a new terminal Monroe Regional Airport.
The election will be held Nov. 4 in conjunction with the presidential election.
The five tax renewals include a 10-year, 2.50 mills property tax to pay a part of the cost of operating and maintaining the Monroe Civic Center; a 10-year, 2.50 mills property tax renewal for operating and maintaining the Louisiana Purchase Gardens and Zoo; a 10-year, 3.25 mills property tax to pay a part of capital improvements; a 10-year, 1.50 mills property tax for additional support for the Monroe Police Department; and a 10-year 1.50 mills property tax for additional support to the Monroe Fire Department.
The new proposal for Monroe Regional Airport's terminal project is a 10-year, 1.00 mill property tax, which would generate $372,317 annually.
Mayor Jamie Mayo said the new property tax proposal would be another source of funding the city would use to build the new airport terminal.
The city most recently was awarded $1 million in federal funding to help replace the 40-year-old terminal.
Mayo hopes construction for the $30-million terminal will begin sometime in 2010, and be completed by the end of his current term in 2012.
He said that depends on the city acquiring the needed funding from various sources, including more federal, state and local dollars.
The city hopes to secure at least $7 million in federal funding this year to advance the airport project.
Monroe's administration director David Barnes said the 0.6-mill property tax for the city court building will be paid off, so taxpayers actually would only see a 0.4-mill increase on what they already pay if the new proposal is approved by voters in November.
"It says a new tax proposition, but technically, it's not a whole new one because we're taking the 0.6 mill we're using for city court and putting that at the airport," Mayo said. "The new one is really 0.4."
"The tax renewals obviously are very important because they consist of essential services that we are already providing," Mayo continued. "The new proposition would be towards the commitment that the city, the business community, federal government and state all have made towards a new terminal for the airport. We all agree that the current one is antiquated and it needs to be replaced. This would provide one funding option towards building a new terminal."
He said since the airport is the "gateway to our city," it is important to present it in the best way.
"It's been there for such a long time, and we have an opportunity to tremendously improve one of our gateways," Mayo said. "Our intent is to communicate that to the public and show them how that will enhance the community as a whole.
"Image is very, very important, and our airport terminal, of all the major cities, is quite frankly the worst one. I'm committed to working with the council and the business community to change that."
Mayo said in the next several months the city will put together a marketing campaign about the tax proposals to inform voters why the taxes should be approved.