While no one enjoys taxes, more money would mean better roads

Rick Nowlin on My923 Radio

On the agenda at the next Parish Council meeting, which is set for Monday, July 23 at 5:30 pm at the Natchitoches Parish Courthouse will the Road Tax Proposal that was introduced in June.

The Road Tax proposal is based off of advice from an advisory commission that was formed a few years ago. The commission calculated that to bring the roads up to minimal standards would cost $104 million. The Parish has a budget of $2.7 million annually. A similar tax was offered two years ago, but it was shot down.

Parish President Rick Nowlin said he thought it was time to try again. It’ll be up to the voters to say whether or not they want it. It’s a property tax. To give everyone a little skin in the game, a sales tax will also be introduced at this month’s meeting because everyone pays sales taxes.

Nowlin suggested the Council put both taxes on the ballot. This way the voters can decide if they want to vote for one or the other, or both. Each one would bring in $2 million a year. That’s $4 million annually if they both get passed. Nowlin said the Parish would take about 85-90 percent of that and bond a road program so that over the 10 years it could generate about $30-35 million in road improvements. There’d also be a few million left to put into road maintenance.

“We’ve got to do a better job of maintaining things,” he said. “We have a small budget for rock and we have to spread it out over the year. If a big storm comes through it can wipe us out by August.”

Now, what does the property tax cost? Half the people in the Parish pay nothing. From the $75,000 threshold for property tax exemption, up to a $200,000 assessed value, covers another 30 percent. For this bracket, the tax would cost $2.40 per week ($125 per year or less).

An advisory commission would be formed to advise the Council on work that needs to be done in each district. If one district passes the tax and another doesn’t, the money raised can only be spent in the district where the tax was passed.

For information on the road tax proposal call the Parish Government at 318-352-2714.