Voters reject tax now what?

by Brandon Richards bio | email

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC-TV) – On Saturday, Calcasieu voters said "no" to a tax proposal that would have been used to maintain the parish courthouse, jail, and other public buildings.

It's estimated the tax would have brought in $7.8 million annually over ten years.

Voters also rejected a similar version of the tax last November.

Calcasieu Parish Administrator Bryan Beam said the current fiscal and political climate is not one conducive for any kind of taxes.

We knew it was tough going in," said Beam. "But we felt like if we were informative with the public, they would respond…obviously, the taxes didn't pass."

Beam said the parish will now have to re-examine the issue, as they're required by state law to maintain public buildings like the courthouse and jail.

"It's hard to imagine that won't come back on the ballot…later on," said Beam, noting maintenance costs take up 30% of the parish's general fund. "That's just too difficult to trim back, here and there. You can't really make that up."

Voters also rejected a sales tax proposal for roads and garbage collection for unincorporated parts of Calcasieu Parish.

Beam says there are currently no provisions to pay for garbage collection in the unincorporated areas beyond 2010---with the exception of Moss Bluff.

Beam said it is too early to know what police jurors will ultimately do. There is however, one option the police jury may consider. Residents may have to pay a direct fee for garbage collection, as is common in other states.

Parish officials were hoping the two tax proposals would be approved to help them deal with rising costs associated with maintenance for public buildings and solid waste collection in parts of the parish.

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