Voters decide on property tax to help fund airport

(Source: MGN Online)
(Source: MGN Online)

CALCASIEU PARISH, LA (KPLC) - Should a Calcasieu property tax keep helping fund the Lake Charles Regional Airport?

An airport property tax renewal is on the April 5th ballot.

If approved, the home owner with a house valued at $75,000 or less would be exempt from the tax. The cost of a $100,000 home is around $1.55 and a $200,000 home would cost around $7.75 a year.

Airport officials gave a presentation to Calcasieu Parish Police Jurors and the public regarding the tax renewal.

Officials said the tax is needed, but the continuing of the 0.62-mil property tax is up to the voters.

"We got about 18,000 acres out there and 30,000 linear feet of runway so it's a big facility and obviously requires a lot of upkeep," said Director of Lake Charles Regional Airport, Heath Allen.

The tax counts for about 30% of the facility's total operating budget, adding up to more than $600,000 annually.

"It was first established in 1955," said Allen. "It's a district tax for District 1, which includes all of Lake Charles, Ward 3, and a very small part of Ward 4," said Allen.

When the tax renewal was brought to the KPLC Facebook page, some residents said Houston is where they prefer to fly from. Airport officials said even if someone never steps foot in the facility, a commercial airport tax is needed for the community.

"If you want to talk about economic impact, we're well over $200 million annually in economic impact and over 1,600 jobs," said Allen.

But what if taxpayers vote against the renewal? Officials said that could mean the rising of ticket prices.

"Lake Charles Regional Airport is very important to this community and entire region, it stretches beyond Calcasieu Parish in terms of connecting worldwide connectivity out of the airport," said Allen.

Early voting starts March 22nd.

For more information, click here.

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