PJ tax proposals headed for October 2 ballot

By Theresa Schmidt - bio | email

LAKE CHARLES, LA. (KPLC) -The Ways and Means committee of the Calcasieu Police Jury has agreed to again put two tax continuations before voters. This time jurors will not ask for an increase above what the taxes were when first passed many years ago.

There was little disagreement among  jurors that they must again approach voters for continuation of the property tax dedicated to running the Calcasieu Courthouse complex and jail. The police jury is required by law to provide courthouse and jail facilities... But this time jurors will ask only for what's been on the books. No increase.

Several jurors made an impassioned plea.  Said Juror Sandy Treme, "People of Calcasieu Parish! These are basics. All we're asking for is the basics. You have to have the judges, you have to have a court system. There has to be a place for justice."

They voted unanimously to put the property tax on the October ballot. A second proposal is to continue a one and a half per cent sales tax for roads and garbage collection. Most jurors feel in the May election voters didn't know their garbage pickup depends on it.  Juror Chris Landry said, "I know the people in my district don't want a garbage bill in the mail. And I feel like if we don't put it back on there and give them the opportunity to vote again, I mean, to me then it's going to be my fault that I didn't give them the opportunity again."

If the tax fails people outside the cities will have to pay a monthly garbage bill up to $20 a month. All jurors except Shannon Spell of Moss Bluff voted to put the sales tax on the October 2nd ballot. He feels sewerage improvements are a higher priority. "I believe if given the choice the people of the parish would choose to fund capital improvements for wastewater over garbage collection. I could be wrong."

The Moss Bluff area is excluded from the parish sales tax district because of a school tax they have there. If the full jury approves at their June 3rd meeting both tax proposals will appear on the ballot October 2nd.

Even if voters approve the taxes parish officials say they are still making cuts due to declining sales tax revenues.

Copyright 2009 KPLC. All rights reserved.