Denham Springs — Money used to create the Denham Springs Economic Development District is on pace to be paid back 15 years ahead of schedule, Mayor Gerard Landry said recently.
In 2007 and 2008, the district, which is overseen by the mayor and City Council, issued $50 million in bonds to buy 24 acres of land and build infrastructure south of Interstate 12. The district, which spans 75 acres total, has attracted many new businesses, anchored by the Bass Pro Shops.
The city, Livingston Parish School Board, Sheriff’s Office, Parish Council, local drainage district and the state of Louisiana have allocated much of their in-district sales and use taxes to repay the bonds.
In their most recent meeting, the district received its 2015 audit, and afterward, Landry said the bonds, which aren’t scheduled to mature until 2037, could be paid off by 2021 or 2022.
The news came like a late Christmas present to Denham Springs. The city gives up 71 percent of its 1.5 percent sales tax in the district to pay back the bonds. It will be in for a windfall in six or seven years when they can begin collecting all the sales tax generated within the district.
Auditors with Hannis T. Bourgeois LLP said the district had another impressive year in 2015.
“Continued strong sales tax revenues ($5,370,953 at year end), allowed additional retirement of debt ($3,700,000) greater than the scheduled principal amount for 2015 ($695,000),” the audit states.
Despite the “strong” performance, sales tax revenue in 2015 was down slightly from a year before, when the district collected $5.6 million.
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