Rather than let the public decide, three of the five Parish Council members chose to vote down an ordinance geared towards fixing the deplorable road system in Natchitoches Parish at the Council meeting July 17.
Out of the over 24,000 constituents all five of the council members represent, Rodney Bedgood, Patsy Ward Hoover and Chris Paige said they polled a fraction of theirs over the phone and they were all against putting the creation of the road districts to a vote. These three Council members voted against the tax proposition, while Russell Rachal and Doug de Graffenried voted in favor of it.
“It’s not a fair tax,” said Bedgood.
Rachal started Monday night’s meeting by asking his fellow Council members to have an open mind and a positive attitude.
“We are now 18 months in office and we’ve gotten very little done,” he said. “It’s time to step up to the plate and start working together. It’s time to change because the people deserve better.”
But apparently some Council members didn’t feel the same way, according to how they voted.
“Someone has to pay the fiddler if you wanna dance,” said Parish resident John Hodgson.
At a special-called Parish Council meeting June 8, de Graffenried presented information on this tax proposition that he hoped the Council would vote to put on the ballot for the Nov. 18 election.
The tax proposition would create four independent road districts. In addition to funds from Road District 40, those areas that vote to create their district will benefit from an additional $800,000 to $1 million in revenues annually that would be spent on the roads in their district only. Areas that vote against the creation of their district would continue to benefit from the revenues generated by Road District 40 only.
“It’s a catch 22,” said Parish President Rick Nowlin. “You gotta have the money to do the work.”
However, it seems the situation will continue as it is and the roads will continue to deteriorate.
Other agenda items included considering budget revisions, entering into an intergovernmental agreement from the federal off-sytem bridge rehabilitation and replacement program and authorizing the Parish President to advertise for bids for the construction of CoCo Bed Road, following the approval of project plans.