This morning, Doug de Graffenried, met with the Walter P. Ledt Coffee Club as Natchitoches Parish Council District three councilman. The topic of his talk was a method for funding road improvements in Natchitoches Parish. de Graffenried proposed to place two questions before the Parish voters. The plan would divide the Parish into four separate road districts. Each district would be presented with a proposed ad valorem tax to fund road repairs for that district. Below are Doug de Graffenried’s proposal and tax map.
I once led a church that built a big new sanctuary years before I arrived. The preacher told the church they could build a huge sanctuary and they wouldn’t have to give much money. He convinced them they were all going to be rich because of the Tuscaloosa Trend. That was the name of a shale oil field from late 1970’s that ran across the Florida Parishes. The shale oil leases never showed up. The church did pay for the sanctuary. It was sixteen years later that the debt was paid. The church paid big money for their big sanctuary. Even in church work, nothing is free.
I think about the “Tuscaloosa Trend” money every time I listen to people complain about their roads. I want to ask them a question. “Where do we get the money to fix your road?” Yeah, the Road District 40 tax passed. That generates $1,076,000 a year. It is not enough money to fix your road! Your road is not the only road in this Parish. We need a little clarity of thought. Mathematically we don’t have enough income from all sources to begin to fix the road problem. You are experiencing 40 years of road neglect. Fixing the neglect will take money, time, and patience. It will also take a cogent plan.
To give you an idea of the size of the Parish road system, if you got on Interstate 10 at the Texas state line and drove west all the way across the state of Texas on Interstate 10 that is roughly the same number of miles of roads we have in the Parish Road system. That is over 800 miles, folks. Take your potholes and multiply it by 800 miles and you see the enormity of the problem. 90% of the Parish roads are “failed” roads. A failed road has more hole than road.
How, I wondered could we begin to honestly address the pitiful conditions of the roads in the Parish?
Simply put I propose that the Parish is divided into four new road districts. You would need to vote on this proposal.
I propose a 16 mill ad valorem road tax for each road district. You would need to vote on this proposal too.
If your district passes the 16 mill property tax the revenue raised in your district is spent on the roads in your road district, exclusively. This money is spent on roads only. No equipment. No shenanigans, roads only! You will have access to this information and you can hold government accountable.
If your district fails to pass the 16 mill property tax, you can observe as the districts that passed the tax have their roads fixed. The boundaries of these new districts have nothing to do with the political boundaries of the Parish Council. These road districts are about roads, nothing else. I can explain to you how the size and shape was determined, but you will quit reading.
It would be a 10 year tax. You would see the results of passing this tax, quickly.
There are many steps before this idea is fully formed. There are other things we need to do in conjunction with this tax idea. This is my idea, do you have an idea? Not a theory, but a bona fide, idea.
Talk among yourselves….
Call Doug with your input and ideas: 318-357-8296
Doug’s Proposed Tax Districts Map