Road tax on December ballot


By Carolyn Roy,

Parish residents who want better roads will get a chance to vote on yet another tax in December. At a special called meeting Monday, the Parish Council voted to put a half-cent sales tax on the ballot that will be a parish-wide tax except in the City and Campti. It should generate approximately $1 million annually if it passes. It was considered at the special called meeting Monday because of a July 30 deadline to file notice with the State and bonding commission.

Voting for the ordinance were Russell Rachal, Rodney Bedgood, Doug deGraffenreid and Chris Paige. Pat Ward-Hoover was absent.

The sales tax was an agenda item at the July 23 meeting but no one offered the motion for a vote. Although he voted for it Monday, deGraffenreid was reluctant to do so saying it was “lunacy” to have two tax propositions on the ballot and that he would not support it in the future. Also on the ballot with the sales tax will be a 10 mill ad valorem tax to be voted on by residents in four taxing districts. Those taxing districts were created by the council at the July meeting.

The ad valorem taxes are expected to generate about $2 million annually if they all pass. Should all the taxes pass, they will add an additional $3 million to the highway department budget. Consulting engineer Nick Verret reported that he has sent the preliminary plans and specifications for Payne Subdivision to Baton Rouge for approval. Facility Planning and Control must sign off on the plans for Phase I of the Payne Subdivision Street Project before it can be advertised for bids. Capital Outlay will fund $500,000 with the Parish Council match being $167,000. Part of the Council’s match is Verret’s engineering services.

Verrett also engineered plans for the Odra Levee Road project that is being funded mainly by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services. The Odra Levee Road is Hwy. 492 east of Cloutierville and south of the Red River Waterway Commission boat launch on Red River. The council authorized a budget revision of not more than $30,000 for the project.