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Ashley Rodrigue / Eyewitness News
Email: arodrigue@wwltv.com | Twitter: @ashleyrwwl

COVINGTON, La. -- The city of Covington is asking voters for permission to expand the use of an existing sales tax to save services looking at dwindling budget dollars.

Streets, sewage, water and many other departments have been able to operate with money generated from a one-cent sales tax since it was approved in 1957.

The city has been tapping into other fund balances for years to cover the costs of all of the agencies not originally written into the tax, including police and code enforcement.

But now those dollars are running dry.

'Fifty five years ago, the city leaders did not anticipate the needs that we would have today,' said Mayor Mike Cooper. 'We didn't have planning and zoning, we didn't have code enforcement, our police department may have been two, or three or four members at that time.'

So the city is hoping voters will decide to add those departments to the wording of the sales tax proposal already in effect. If not, city leaders say major cuts will follow that the community will feel.

'We don't want to get into a position where perhaps we have to do layoffs or things like that because there's no available funds,' said Police Chief Richard Palmisano.

'I think if this doesn't pass, I don't think I'll have a job here anymore,' said Code Enforcement Officer Wayne Mayberry.

Regardless of whether this rededication passes or fails, 1 percent will still be taken from Covington's sales taxes for city operations.

City leaders say the sole reason for this election is to take spending limits off of the city, in regards to spending the $3.75 million this tax generates every year, which will allow for more departments to use the money.

'The people need to realize the good job that's being done in the city and we're trying to do a better job to keep people happy here,' Mayberry said.

Residents are invited to see a presentation and ask questions about the rededication proposal Wednesday night, at 5:30 p.m., at Covington City Hall. Voters will decide on Nov. 6.

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