November 8th – A turning point for Natchitoches Parish?

By David Dollar/Opinion

d-dollar-nldacThe following is a quote from the New York Times dated January 31, 1987 by staff writer Lindsey Gruson:

“The end of a Federal aid program that provided more than half the money for some municipal budgets has caused a severe financial crisis in small and medium-size cities and counties around the country and is forcing some to make hard choices between cutting services and raising taxes. The elimination of the program of general revenue sharing on Sept. 30, 1986… has prompted layoffs, curtailment of police protection and other services, and higher taxes and user fees in thousands of counties, cities and villages. Susan White, legislative assistant for the National Association of Counties, said ”It’s a major blow. There’s just no place to go, no room to maneuver.”

And so it was in 1986 around the Natchitoches Parish Police Jury board room the day they got the news of the cancellation of “Federal Revenue Sharing” that brought $2 Million per year to the parish. “There goes the General Fund”, then Parish Treasurer, the late Joann Ward, was quoted as saying at the meeting.

The bottom line is this: the taxpayers of Natchitoches parish have never paid real road taxes, and boy have we gotten what we don’t pay for. In the 70’s and 80’s, the Jury had the luxury of transferring over $1-1.5 million of the federal revenue sharing to roads each year, with no regard for how little local money the 5 mil Road District 40 took in. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see what’s happened since the federal money dried up—the road system became road kill. Nobody stole any money, nobody at the library bought bookmobiles with highway money, and the department shrank from about 120 employees with good equipment to a brave band of 25 or so fighting a losing battle against time, traffic, and road degradation.

We have a chance to turn things around on November 8th by voting for DEDICATED Road Taxes just for us. For the first time, we rural folks who shop in Natchitoches also have a chance to get at least some of our taxes back—a 50/50 split of new tax revenue split evenly between city and parish residents for roads. Not a penny of our money comes back to us today. Think of it as a new “Revenue Sharing”—with each other instead of Washington. Please consider joining me in wholehearted support for saving our roads. I drive the damned alternative every day.


5 thoughts on “November 8th – A turning point for Natchitoches Parish?

  1. If the roads had been MAINTAINED PROPERLY in the first place…we wouldn’t be having this issue. I’ve seen the less than adequate repairs & they didn’t last long enough for the water to EVEN get HOT! In the rural areas of Natchitoches Parish there is high logging traffic which destroys even the best roads. Even a lame person can recognize that fact…with that being said…the methods of today’s road construction does not endure logging use for decades like the roads of older times. Those type of roads lasted for multiple decades…not just weeks, months or a couple of years at the most. I have literally seen in person, a new strip of asphalt be destroyed in a matter of a day!!! I’ve seen HIGH DOLLAR money being wasted on inappropriate equipment (I’m speaking of what I call the ‘pee’ machine – it spits out a little heap of pea gravel & then pours out coal-oil on the gravel – made for minor road repairs) because it was being used on RADICALLY damaged roads…just went right down that WASTE drain. I’ve seen the labor of employees dropping shovels of hot asphalt into holes they couldn’t fill with just a couple of shovels full & THEN go on to the next hole…or they would fill the little dips in the roads (not pack it down leaving a mound of asphalt to help finish knocking your front-end out of alignment, damage a tire or rim) & THEN not fill the bigger holes at all. While doing that…they didn’t even fill all the holes in one area, but instead do a hole or two here & there…go down the road & do a few more until they emptied the little trailer the asphalt was being hauled in. Whatever happened to putting some pride into the quality of work a person does; regardless of how ineffective it shows to be? I can see how overwhelmed those employees may be & how that could affect their attitudes…it must be really hard for them to report to work everyday & it must be really draining on them (mentally, emotionally, spiritually) even if they have only half a heart, but still care. I don’t hold them so much accountable as I do the ones in control of funds; the ones that don’t make it their business to make sure our roads are cared for & maintained with the highest quality methods & materials that will sustain & uphold under the pressure of logging traffic. The current usual road methods will not & do not hold up under that kind of use. Another thing…I don’t understand why weight limit restrictions are not enforced in the rural areas. We pay their penalty by having to FREQUENTLY make NUMEROUS (no, not just one small repair…I’m talking multiples of 2-7+ part replacements NOT counting the tires & rims you have to replace) repairs to our vehicles. A vehicle that we have already paid sales taxes on, as well as, paying fees/taxes on our vehicle tags & drivers license. We were not the ones to LITERALLY DESTROY the roads. We were not the ones to neglect our highways or the funds collected to fix & maintain our roads. And yet our political officials think the only solution is to increase our taxes again when they didn’t use the funds they have already received appropriately nor effectively. What is even worse & an insult to the very people that pays their salaries…they give themselves raises…knowing full well the DANGEROUS conditions of our roads & I rightfully express DANGEROUS because in the area that my 92 year old father lives; an ambulance wouldn’t even be able to get to him in time if his life were in dire danger or anyone else; no matter their age!!! How pathetic that is!!! Which the scenario I just mentioned, actually happened not too long ago with a couple of people in my Dad’s community…in one instance…the ambulance had to be lead out to the hospital by a different route over a SOMEWHAT better road. Even our state roads have wheel troughs on them caused by high semi-truck/log truck traffic. When it rains & the water collects in those troughs; it is very dangerous & the possibilities of hydroplaning are very high not to mention when meeting oncoming traffic your windshield is covered in heavy spray & you are not able to see at all for a moment. All it takes is a moment to loose a life! I consider that highly dangerous & there is not a single excuse grand enough to make it okay for someone to have lost their life because of political neglect! ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!!! TIME FOR THINGS TO TAKE AN ABOUTFACE!!! SO PEOPLE IN THE SMALL COMMUNITIES…TIME TO GET SOME GUMPTION…GRAB YOUR BOOT STRAPS & YANK UP THOSE BOOTS!!! GET INVOLVED!!!
    As far as mores taxes…the answer is NO! If people aren’t getting a raise in their income to make up the difference then don’t expect people who are barely able to provide for their own necessary needs much less have to pay more taxes! To name one of many expenses they have to pay, outrageously high health care insurance that shouldn’t even have a right to be so high that people can’t afford it. People in poverty & even middle class people are already having to make the hard choices to even survive. Even God doesn’t ask for more than 10%. The way I see it…10% should be the total percentage divided & disbursed to cover all city, county/parish, state & federal taxes including payroll taxes. PERIOD!!! Then we would have 80% of our income to support ourselves, live comfortably & still be able help a family member or friend going through difficult times when necessary. Like it is…we are so over taxed & overwhelmed by insurance rates that we might have 25% to survive on. IF WE’RE LUCKY!!! So do the math…we’ll be driven into complete poverty if we continue to be taxed more. If the American people are driven into poverty with more taxes…this country dies because we are what makes up the existence of this country. Politicians STOP TAXING US TO DEATH! GET REAL…MONEY DOESN’T GROW ON TREES…SO USE EVERY LAST PENNY WISELY POLITICIANS!!! YOU WERE NOT VOTED INTO OFFICE TO RAPE US, so be careful what you do to the very people that pay your salary! Once we can no longer pay your salary…you will be finding yourself on POVERTY STREET. GOD HAVE MERCY ON YOU & EVERY PERSON WHO THINKS ITS OKAY TO OVER-PRICE THINGS SO MUCH SO THAT IT IS NO LONGER AFFORDABLE BY ANY AVERAGE PERSON MUCH LESS THOSE IN POVERTY. If you want this nation to be strong…start running this nation on minimal wage at the poverty level…then you’ll quickly find a better solution to make this nation strong again for everybody! Try wearing the shoes of someone who has had to live off of minimal wage…see how long you survive Mr./Mrs. Politician. No one ask to be in poverty…they’ve had to learn to live that way…we don’t live in a perfect world…things happen! Bring back our better paying jobs from overseas…return the building blocks for the formation of a greater integrity & sustainability. Politicians, stop pointing your fingers & blaming the wrong people for your inability to efficiently manage & maintain safe roads…after all…if you notice…when you are pointing at someone else with one finger…you have 4 more fingers pointing back at yourself. I’m sure there are people in office that do care, but the record & REAL EXISTENCE of DANGEROUS ROAD CONDITIONS has been evident for decades (plural) now. We have suffered through it long enough…waiting for YOU to finally get it right…TIME FOR YOU to get SERIOUS ABOUT YOUR JOB & DO THE RIGHT THING for a change. WISE UP & STOP targeting the wrong people to make your job easier for you & YOU START taking initiative to find better solutions with better effective methods that isn’t going to break the very bank you’re relying on…the PEOPLE’S pocketbook!

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