LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - For many years, residents of Calcasieu Parish have enjoyed good roads, much better than some in surrounding parishes.
On Saturday, Calcasieu voters will decide on a sales tax renewal for the Calcasieu Police Jury, who uses the tax to help pay for a wide range of services including garbage and trash pickup, along with road repair.
Calcasieu Parish Administrator Bryan Beam said they are very proud of their road program.
“I don’t have any hesitation saying, I believe we have the best handled road system in the state, in terms of any parish roads we’re responsible for,” Beam said. “They are high quality. Over 95% of our roads are paved even in the very rural areas.”
Beam said the 1.5% sales tax they are asking voters to renew is a major reason for the success of their program.
“It also pays for road overlays and new construction throughout the unincorporated areas, as well as bridge repair and replacements, drainage projects, sewage, water line extensions, our litter program,” Beam said. “Just so many fundamental things that the people need to get back and forth and to drain properly.”
Except in the Moss Bluff, Gillis area, the tax also pays for drop-off sites on either side of Calcasieu.
The 1.5% sales tax is only applied in the unincorporated areas, outside the cities.
Beam said most of the money it brings in is paid by industry.
“The vast majority of funds from this tax are paid by industry, primarily petrochemical industry and others, because they are located outside of cities,” Beam said. “This is not levied inside of any city. All these big projects, LNG, ethane crackers and all of that, any materials or equipment, big construction projects done here. Once it goes to those sites, that means they are applied with the sales tax.”
The tax has been on the books since 1992. If approved by voters, it will run another ten years.
The polls are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. and voters are asked to wear a mask, have your own pen and bring a picture I.D.