DERIDDER, LA (KPLC) - Voters in Beauregard on Saturday approved a 15-year, 1/4 percent sales tax that will be dedicated to handicapped accessibility upgrades and expansion of the aging parish courthouse, built in 1913.
Voting for it was 68.73 percent or 2,270 voters. Against it were 1,033 voters, or 31.27 percent.
The money will allow renovation of the existing building and an annex to be built.
Court officials – and the public – have long complained of the building's inaccessibility. Some have said that its lack of access limits and discourages public access.
A steering committee met for months, examining options for the courthouse. The committee included parish officials, citizens, architects, construction professionals and others.
The courthouse does not have an elevator. Handicapped individuals must use a lift to access the main courtroom upstairs. Also, the building's only handicapped accessible restroom is located upstairs.
"Accessibility is an overall issue, it's not just the lift," said Judge Martha O'Neal in a November interview with KPLC.
Also on Saturday in Beauregard, voters in Merryville approved a 20-year 1 percent sales and use tax to be dedicated and used for constructing, improving, maintaining, operating and administering town streets and acquiring equipment and authority to fund said tax into debt, according to the proposition.
Voting for it were 150 voters, or 86.71 percent. Against it were 23 voters, or 13.29 percent.
Merryville voters also approved 20-year 1 percent sales and use tax to be dedicated and used to pay the cost of solid waste services, including but not limited to collection fees, and/or operating, maintaining and administering solid waste disposal facilities for the residents.
Voting for it were 148 voters, or 87.06 percent. Against it were 22 voters, or 12.94 percent.