Circuit Court rules in favor of St. Gabriel on tax dispute

Michael Jacobs

A 15-year tax disagreement reached the end of the road Monday when the state Supreme Court declined to issue a ruling on disagreement between St. Gabriel city government and Iberville Parish government.

The Supreme Court took no action on the dispute in which Iberville Parish government questioned the city’s authority to collect a 1-cent sales tax.

The city will now collect approximately $150,000 per month generated from the tax, according to Mayor George Grace.

The city can now sell up to $14.5 million in tax revenues for sewer projects, street improvements and wastewater projects.

Grace said this week he would leave the decision to mayor-elect Lionel Johnson Jr. on what to do with the property.

Johnson takes office July 2.

St. Gabriel voters gave the green light to the tax in 1996, but industrial plans filed lawsuit, claiming the tax was invalid.

The city and parish reached an agreement in 1999 for the municipality to collect a one-third cent tax for a decade. The city was to levy a full penny tax after that, but the parish voters gave approved a 1-cent sales tax in 2006.

The parish, meanwhile, maintained that the city’s sales tax would exceed the amount of sales tax allowed by state law.