JT is continually amazed by how people overlook the simple fact that how something is presented is often more important than what is being presented. In many cases people hear things but they do not listen. There is a difference. This is a concept that JT understand all too well. People can say the same thing five different ways, but until you hear it the way you want to hear it, there is confusion. JT is sad to say that this is most apparent in meetings of elected officials.
Early voting has begun for the Parish Council’s 20-year sales tax proposition. If passed, the half percent tax would fund construction, improving and maintaining public roads and bridges. JT remembers someone saying that a half a percent generates around $1 million a year, which would double their current monies for road improvements. Those dollars, along with Parish President Rick Nowlin’s plans to use matching money with the state would fund the road/bridge program. Based on the comments from our readers, JT foresees a lot of roads having to be rebuilt. It’s gonna take a lot of money to get our roads back in shape. Parish officials said last week that the average cost to construct 1 mile of road is around $300,000. With 850 miles of roads in our parish, let’s say 25 percent of them (213 miles of road) need to be fixed at that average cost…then the parish needs $63.7 million to do the work. In 20 years (the length of the tax) the parish would generate around $40 million.
Even with some matching monies the best the parish can do is fix 7 to 10 miles a year. The other part of this is the raising of the sales tax rates for Natchitoches Parish. The tax, if passed, would put us at 8.45 percent in all communities with the exception of Natchitoches and Clarence. Natchitoches is 9.95 percent and Clarence is 9.45 percent. By comparison to parishes our size, Webster Parish is at 7.95 percent outside of Minden and Beauregard Parish is 7.70 percent. We’ve already seen some migration of shoppers out of Natchitoches because of the high sales tax rate and a good argument could be made for the same to happen in the parish. The parish’s proposal is just a band-aid. The math just doesn’t work and the roads are only going to get worse over time.
A way to generate funds for road repair is simple in JT’s mind…just no one wants to address it. Get rid of…or greatly reduce… the homestead exemption homeowners are enjoying. Take that money and put in into the development and maintenance of our infrastructure. Dedicating those monies would allow the parish to make a genuine effort to bring our roads and bridges up to par. The bottom line…as JT sees it…is not about people willing to ante up for road repairs. The issue is one of trust. With all the shenanigans going on at the parish council, do voters trust the Parish Council and it’s leadership to follow through? Voters haven’t in the past…will they this go around?
This “no call” by the referees in the New Orleans NFC Championship game just won’t go away. It’s been called a “Comedy of Errors” by the New Orleans newspaper and the target of Mardi Gras (where float riders threw yellow flags to revelers). the Superdome has been labeled a “Crime Scene,” a city wide boycott in New Orleans dropped the Super Bowl ratings to historic lows and multiple law suit were filed against Commissioner Roger Goodell and the NFL. Now JT hears a movie is in the works called “Get The Ref” that will address the tragedy that befell Saints fans.
It should be filmed this summer with Danny Devito tapped to play a Cajun Sheriff, El Helms (from the Office and The Hangover) is to play a title character and a number of NFL Legends and players are set to make cameos throughout the film. The film is supposed to be “all in good humor” but somehow JT doubts the New Orleans Saints players who lost find any humor in losing $59,000 per player by not making it into the Superbowl game. ——-