Walter Pierce

Water district tax renewal could face questions

by Walter Pierce

A special election scheduled for March to renew a property tax funding a little-known Acadiana agency could face questions from the Lafayette City-Parish Council when it meets Tuesday. A discussion item on the Teche-Vermilion Fresh Water District is on the agenda.

The agency was created as part of the 1966 federal Flood Control Act and is charged with ensuring a fresh water supply in bayous Teche and Vermilion through a pumping station on the Atchafalaya River near Krotz Springs. In November, the CPC approved a resolution calling for a March 27, 2010 special election to renew a 10-year, 1.5 mills property tax for the district. The Army Corps of Engineers requires the district to have a $25 million cash reserve by 2012 for maintaining equipment and other purposes. According to its 2010 proposed budget,  the district currently has just over $20 million in reserve cash. The property tax, according to the same budget, generates roughly $3.2 million in annual revenues.

The Teche-Vermilion Fresh Water District is governed by a five-member board and has an office on South College Drive in Lafayette.