Election follow up

By Adam Hooper - bio | email

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - The sheriff got his renewal and that is about it. The district attorney's tax proposal and two from the police jury all failed on Saturday. The defeat that stings the most for the parish, is the renewal and increase of a property tax for maintenance.

"That is the tax that actually funds the payment of the light bills, the insurance premiums, the regular maintenance, and replacement of air conditioning," said Mark McMurry parish administrator.

This tax was passed 21 years ago and has not been raised since. This year the parish has had to pull 1.9 million dollars  out of reserve to balance the budget, a practice the parish said they can not do for long.

"I think that the police jury will have to put that back on the ballot as early as possible. That would be in the spring on the May 1, 2009 election," said Mark McMurry.

McMurry believes that part of the reason voters said no to both propositions could be because of hard feelings, over the purchase of the 901 building on Lake Shore Dr.

"I would not be surprised if that had something to do with some of the negative votes. We had a lot of positive feedback from a lot of folks saying it was a good business decision, but not everyone agreed with that," said McMurry.

In the bond issue that failed, part of that money would have been used to move the district attorney's office to the 901 parish building.

"Certainly the space availability in the new building will be such that we will have adequate office space for everyone in the office," said Calcasieu Parish District Attorney, John DeRosier.

The district attorney said that, in some cases, they have an office meant for one, holding two to three people. The police jury is looking at moving the district attorney without the bond issue, but only if they can bring down renovation costs.

"We need to get those numbers down a little bit from 1-million if we have any plans to actually move them in there without bond issue help," said McMurry.

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