CALCASIEU PARISH, LA (KPLC) - Voters will soon decide the future of the Calcasieu jail, courthouse, and libraries.
The police jury approved a special election, allowing voters to decide if they want to renew the parish's courthouse and jail maintenance tax, and a tax for the parish's libraries.
The courthouse and jail maintenance tax would levy 3.27 mills and cost citizens around $7 million annually, while the library tax would levy 5.99 mills costing taxpayers around $12 million annually.
State law requires parishes to provide a courthouse, office space for agencies like the Clerk of Court, and the district attorney, and build and maintain a jail.
The property tax for the courthouse and jail have been in effect since 1987, and the money spent would go towards maintenance, equipment, as well as feeding and medical care for the prisoners.
The library tax has also been around for quite some time, and that money covers close to everything like maintenance, staff, as well as books and facilities.
Parish Administrator Bryan Beam says things could drastically change if the community votes no to both of these tax renewals.
These are both fundamental taxes... let's take (the) courthouse and jail maintenance, I mean you have to maintain these buildings," he said. We have no option, and at seven million dollars a year you just can't easily absorb that so it's a very, very critical tax. The library tax, this is primarily their only source of revenue. They don't have a bunch of self-generating revenue so they're going to require this just to even stay open. They really don't have another source of funding."
Beam says these renewals will be on the same ballot as the congressional races so there won't be any special election costs. He says state law requires them to call elections early which is why they voted to call this particular one.
Voters can vote for these two renewals on November 6th.