HAMMOND — Thanks to careful budgeting, the city began its new fiscal year Tuesday with a surplus of about $1 million in sales tax revenues, Mayor Mayson Foster announced at the City Council meeting.
The $1 million will provide a cushion for city coffers for 2014-2015, with sales tax revenues expected to keep at a steady level, as they have over the past few years.
Foster said that through the month of May the city had collected almost $17 million in sales tax revenue. Sales tax collections for May were approximately $1.4 million, about equal to May of last year. He expects June sales tax receipts to be at the same level as June of last year.
Figures released by Foster show that in fiscal year 2003, sales tax revenues totaled about $12 million. Ten years later, that figure rose to approximately $18 million at the same tax rate.
In another matter Tuesday, Grants Director Lacy Landrum reported the observation deck of the new air traffic control tower being built at Hammond’s Northshore Regional Airport was lifted into place June 25 by a special crane.
“The structure now looks like an airport control tower,” Landrum said. Spartan Builders is nearing completion of the tower, she said, and the next step is to install large generators. The $1.7 million tower should be ready in late September or early October.
Once complete, the control tower will be operated by personnel from the Louisiana Army National Guard’s aviation center, which has been located at the Northshore Airport following Hurricane Katrina. The U.S. Customs Service also maintains a center at the airport and flies helicopter and fixed-wing aircraft from the airport.
Foster reminded the public that this year the city has two Independence Day celebrations. Thursday’s Light Up The Sky for the Third of July at Zemurray Park opens at 5 p.m. and free train rides will be offered along with other entertainment for children. The fireworks will start at 9 p.m.
On Friday, Celebrate America on July 4th in the city’s historic downtown district runs from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.