Will Failing Taxes Pave Way to Better Roads?

By Ida B. Torn/Opinion

Even though I have no vested interest in the Robeline-Marthaville Water System, I watched their last meeting and felt a sense of pride for all of the folks who showed up to address the System’s problems. However, it is unfortunate that it took a complete failure of their System for the members to get involved in its operations.

There are a lot of parallels in the Robeline-Marthaville Water System’s problems and those of the Parish’s Department of Public Works. Both have experienced a steady decline in serviceability due to deferred maintenance and both are faced with the daunting task of finding the funds to improve their systems.

On March 25th, voters will have an opportunity to go to the polls to voice their opinions on not only the Road District 40 ad valorem tax but also the ad valorem for the Parish Library, Government Buildings and the Health Department. There have been discussions on social media in recent weeks touting the upcoming election as the prime opportunity to realign tax allocations and to finally allocate more funds to the Parish road system. In order for this to happen, taxpayers will have to decide whether they want to fail everything and start over from scratch or to leave some taxes intact and then figure out how to divvy up what’s left among those that don’t survive.

The Library tax seems to have the biggest target on its back but it has a very strong and well organized group in The Friends of the Library, who will be fighting tooth and nail for its passage. Proponents for realignment in tax dedications need to take lessons from the Robeline-Marthaville Water System and the Friends of the Library. First and foremost, in order to succeed, they will have to be organized. They will also have to have a clear-cut plan and a unified front on how to accomplish their goals.

The multi-million dollar question is whether or not the proponents for realignment on our taxes will be able to put aside their distrust of the Parish Government and their dissatisfaction with the performance (or nonperformance as the case may be) of the Parish Department of Public Works in order to accomplish their goal and to finally pave the way to improving our road system.