In the past 10 years, sales tax collections in Lafayette Parish have mushroomed from $152.9 million to $261.3 million — but the staff overseeing the collection of taxes hasn’t grown.
Sales tax Director Bob Simpson proposed an addition of six staff positions to help increase sales tax collections and provide support to the department during the School Board’s Finance Committee meeting held July 29. The committee voted to bring Simpson’s request to the full board, and it could be considered as soon as the board’s Aug. 5 meeting.
The proposed six additional staff positions would include an additional accountant, a compliance manager, two revenue collectors, an audit manager and an entry-level auditor.
Five of the positions will have a direct impact on recovery of collections that are due, Simpson told the committee members.
The board recently approved other additions to the department, such as an assistant sales tax director and additional positions to handle past-due accounts. Chief Financial Officer Billy Guidry supported the need for additional help within the department, especially in the area of compliance and auditing.
Simpson said the current staffing level is still less than other parishes that handle less money. For instance, Rapides Parish collects less than half of the sales tax revenue that Lafayette Parish does and has a staff of 19 people, Simpson told the board.
If the six people were added to the staff, Simpson said his department would have 20 workers.
The estimated cost of the six positions is $525,000, with the School Board’s share of that cost estimated at $262,500 paid with sales tax collections. The remaining half of the salary costs would be paid with taxes collected on behalf of other entities in the parish, Simpson said.
Follow Marsha Sills on Twitter, @Marsha_Sills.