Beauregard Parish proposes tax for courthouse upgrades - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Beauregard Parish proposes tax for courthouse upgrades

Interior chairlift at Beauregard Courthouse Interior chairlift at Beauregard Courthouse
Staircase inside Beauregard courthouse Staircase inside Beauregard courthouse
Courthouse expansion rendering Courthouse expansion rendering
DERIDDER, LA (KPLC) -

This year's Dec. 8 election date is extremely important for the residents of Beauregard Parish.

Voters will have the opportunity to vote for a 1/4 percent sales tax that, if approved, would be dedicated solely to the renovation and maintenance of the Beauregard Parish courthouse.

For years, one of the main issues with the courthouse's accessibility has been that the building lacks an elevator. People with disabilities must use a wheelchair lift, which is often in disrepair.

However, 36th Judicial District Court officials like Division "A" Judge Martha Ann O'Neal says that something needs to be done for the safety of all citizens, not just those with disabilities.

"Last week, we had a witness testifying in court when he had a medical emergency. Because we don't have an elevator and the lift doesn't work, EMTs had to put him in a chair and carry him down," O'Neal explained. "That process delayed his medical attention for quite some time.  That could have been life threatening time."

O'Neal is one of the many courthouse officials who will be campaigning for the sales tax before the Dec. 8 election. She says that in order to get the tax passed, voters have to be informed and educated on the accessibility issue.

"The people of Beauregard Parish have always done what is right when they are called upon," said O'Neal. "If this doesn't pass, which I'm hopeful it will, it will cost much more than the quarter tax the Police Jury has proposed."

The courthouse will also be hosting an open house in November for residents to come see how their tax dollars would be used after the Dec. 8 elections. 

Copyright 2012 KPLC. All rights reserved.

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