City officials react to new half-cent sales tax passed in Abbeville

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Voters approved a new half-cent sales tax for the City of Abbeville.

The tax will raise money for police and fire departments, as well as municipal employees.

City of Abbeville Mayor Pro Tem Francis Touchet said about 12 weeks ago, the city council looked at each city department making sure they had sufficient funds to give pay increases.

One of the options was a sales tax that not only residents would pay, but all people who visited the city.

“I’m very, first of all, thankful to all the voters. I’m thankful for our employees. I think that this is going to be a positive thing as we move forward and look forward to getting this done for the employees,” added Touchet.

Touchet says officials are having to wait on legislation.

“This will be a $500 a month across the board raise for all police and firemen, along with a $2 across raise for all municipal employees,” explained Touchet. “This is going to somewhat bring them to a point of where when we look at their pay grades compared to other municipalities throughout Acadiana, they’re going to be right where they need to be.”

“I’d like to thank all the citizens for getting out and voting and supporting us. I think they all know that we were in a bad way, and they came through for us, and we’d like to thank them,” said Abbeville Police Chief William ‘Bill’ Spearman.

Chief Spearman said his officers really need the benefits of this tax.

“When you go through life, and you don’t get anything to look forward to, then sometimes you get down, and I think the numbers of my department kind of reflect that so we’re hoping that this will give our officers something to look forward to,” added Chief Spearman.

News 10 asked, “What’s next, if anything, going forward?”

“Trying to get officers to come over here and work for me and to stay. Once we get them here, we need them to stay,” said Chief Spearman.

Chief Spearman says one of the department’s biggest problems is officer retention. Hopefully, he says, this $6,000 more a year pay raise for each officer helps.

Touchet says this tax should take effect around October.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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