Jennings officials propose first economic development district

Published: Jan. 12, 2023 at 9:48 PM CST
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Lake Charles, LA (KPLC) - The first-ever economic development district for the City of Jennings is moving forward after being proposed this week at city council.

“We’ve been working on this for two years to really understand how it works,” Mayor Henry Guinn said.

Doing this will entice businesses and offsets cost of development of infrastructure by implementing a sales tax on top of current state and local sales tax, the mayor said.

“Anytime you have a business that is geared towards interstate traffic, it’s geared towards hotels, those are you transient shoppers,” Guinn said. “They are going to come for a little bit and leave, so an additional one cent sales tax on that business plan will not have a direct impact on locals.”

The district will cover an area near Hwy 26 and West Interstate Drive – an ideal space that will not impact locals, according to Guinn.

The city is agreeing to relocate a sewer lift station, accommodating Hebert Boudin and Cracklins. If this plan is approved, the city will collect a one-cent sales tax from the business, recovering the cost of the relocation.

“We will be able to recoup our expense in about six years,” Guinn said.

Guinn said officials are interested in multiple sites throughout the city. Using economic development districts as their plan helps with expenses like water, sewer, and electricity costs.

“It’s a great tool for mayors and city councils to use that will offset the cost of utilities and operations of government,” Guinn said.

After final approval by the council, it will take approximately up to 120 days for the district to become active.

The council can choose to remove these districts at a later date.