By Kevin Shannahan
Doug deGraffenried, the Parish Councilman for District 3, spoke to the Natchitoches League of Women Voters Monday, July 25. He started out with a prepared speech, but it soon became apparent that questions from the audience were to be the order of the day. League members and guests asked about everyone’s favorite topic concerning the council-the condition of the Parish roads. DeGraffenried pointed out that there is an upcoming tax election in the parish for financing road work on the parish’s 800+ miles of roads. He also stated that more than 90% of the paved roads in the parish are “failed roads” that do not meet state standards. DeGraffenried stated “What you are seeing is 40 years of neglect”
He pointed out some of the structural problems contributing to the parish’s financial problems such as governmental bodies having funds from dedicated taxes. This leads to situations in which an agency or commission has a balance in its account that is larger than needed for its work, but cannot be used in more needed areas. DeGraffenried also spoke of one of the foremost problems facing the parish- a lack of trust in government. He pointed out that the previous 18 tax elections have all failed, a record that has greatly contributed to the present crisis. Building trust in the parish government is critical to everything from getting the roads fixed to the other functions of the parish government.
DeGraffenried also said that President Nowlin accounced he will hold a series of town hall meeting concerning the proposed new road tax to be held throughout the parish. DeGraffenried invited the audience to attend one of them and to bring a friend.