LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) -Even without hurricanes, drainage is a big issue in Calcasieu Parish and consolidating drainage district taxes is one of the issues on the November 3 ballot.
We all have heard many times that floodwaters don’t honor political or district lines.
So, Calcasieu Parish police jurors propose to consolidate the many drainage district taxes into one east and one west.
For many years there have been property taxes for seven individual drainage districts on both the east and west sides of Calcasieu. The districts have already been consolidated, if voters approve, the taxes of each of those seven districts will be consolidated.
Parish officials say the consolidation would result in a lower tax rate levied under the current system as Assistant to the Administrator Alberto Galan explains.
“It replaces the existing tax rates that are currently being levied and it will levy the new proposed rates which are lower in both east and west Calcasieu parish beginning in 2022,” he said.
In west Calcasieu, the consolidated tax would be 4.50 mills and cost an estimated $6.56 a month on a $250,000 home.
On the east side of Calcasieu, the tax rate would be 5.75 mills and cost $8.44 a month on a $250,000 home.
“This is a ballot proposition, voters in east Calcasieu will be voting on a consolidated gravity drainage tax of 5.75 for east Calcasieu parish and on the west side of the parish it’s 4.5 mills, so you’ll see different language for east and west Calcasieu residents,” said Galan.
Business leaders at the Chamber SWLA endorse the proposal because they say it will save taxpayers money.
"We want to compliment the Calcasieu police jury for their forward thinking. The consolidation and lowering of taxes is a real progressive move and the Chamber Southwest does endorse this and urges all the residents in Calcasieu Parish to support the drainage proposition,” said Chamber SWLA CEO & President George Swift.
As before, the revenue collected would be used to improve drainage including maintaining and constructing drains, drainage canals, dikes and levees and buying equipment used. Parish officials say it would also increase the dedication to major capital drainage projects.
A yes vote would consolidate the drainage taxes into one property tax on each side of the river, though the exact tax rate would be different depending on whether you live in east or west Calcasieu.
A no vote would leave individual tax rates in seven areas.