[Editor's Note: This story has been adjusted to reflect City-Parish President Joey Durel's assertion that a combined health/mosquito/animal control tax will not be collected fully and that the tax burden in the parish for funding these services will remain the same.]
Voters in Lafayette Parish will head to the polls Saturday to decide whether to consolidate two existing property taxes that generate more than they need and, because of the extra revenue, to fold in animal control with the promise of improving services and the hope of building a state-of-the-art animal control facility befitting a parish of our population and prosperity. This a good proposal, we support it and hope you will, too.
Here’s what’s on the ballot Saturday:
- Shall the Parish of Lafayette, State of Louisiana (the “Parish”), be authorized to levy and collect a special tax of three and fifty-six hundredths (3.56) mills (“the Tax”) on all property within the Parish subject to taxation (an estimated $6,650,000 reasonably expected at this time to be collected from the Tax for an entire year), for a period of ten (10) years, beginning with the year 2016 and ending with the year 2025, for the purpose of constructing, improving, maintaining, operating and supporting public health units, mosquito and other arthropod abatement and control facilities and programs and animal control facilities and programs, and acquiring furnishings and equipment therefor; said Tax to be levied in lieu of a 2.06 mills public health tax and a 1.50 mills mosquito and other arthropod abatement and control tax authorized at elections held on July 15, 2006 and April 30, 2011, respectively (the “Prior Taxes’’), and shall all proceeds of the Prior Taxes be rededicated and used for Tax purposes?
It’s wordy and written in electionese, but it’s a simple proposition: Should we take these separate taxes that we’ve already approved as voters — 2.06 mills for the health unit and 1.50 for mosquito abatement — and make one tax out of them that also funds animal control? We say yes.
Technically it’s not a tax increase, as City-Parish President Joey Durel has pointed out in his promotion of the ballot measure. Lafayette Parish voters have already approved the separate taxes. But technically it could be a slight tax increase, as Assessor Conrad Comeaux pointed out in an article today in The Advertiser, if LCG collects the full 3.56 mills, should voters choose to consolidate the separate taxes. In a text message to an IND staffer Friday evening, however, Durel insisted the intent has never been to collect the full tax and that voters' tax burden will remain the same.
Oh, there’s also a renewal of an existing tax for road construction and maintenance on Saturday’s ballot. Y’all can go on and vote in favor of it, too. ;-)