Parish Council shuts down creation of Road Tax Districts


Parish Council members Rodney Bedgood, Russell Rachal and Chris Paige shut down the creation of road tax districts 1-4 at a special called meeting Oct. 29. Each ordinance died for lack of a second (Patsy Ward Hoover was Absent and Doug de Graffenried gave the motion for each).

The Council did pass an ordinance to create a sales tax district 2 containing all of the Parish except the City of Natchitoches and the Town of Campti because they are at their max for sales tax. Sales tax is something everyone pays.

Rachal said the only fair tax is a sales tax and Nowlin agreed because then everyone would have some skin in the game. However, Nowlin said a sales tax is also a regressive tax because it disproportionately impacts low income people.

Paige seemed uninterested in the road tax districts. “This is you guys’ thing as far as I’m concerned,” he said. “You know where I stand…I’ve been sitting here [Parish Council] 8 years where we went from one-point-something million dollars to half-a-million dollars now and no work has been done [in Payne Subdivision]. It doesn’t take that long to do the little work we have done out there. I have talked till I’m blue in the face over Payne Subdivision.”

“You also have people around Sibley Lake waiting for us to pass this,” said de Graffenried. “The City is waiting to see what we’re gonna do with Ward 1 because they want to suck up Sibley Lake into the City limits.”

“You can’t stop that anyway,” said Paige. Doug’s response was, “You fix their roads.” Doug suggested the Council perform an experiment and at least create Road District 1, which would have the best chance of passing.

“Let’s let the voters speak,” he said.

Paige said he won’t vote against the people in his district. “You [de Graffenried] sit and vote against Head Start and I’m always gonna have a problem with you and I don’t know if it’s from a racist standpoint or what, but it’s a serious problem.” This statement was in reference to de Graffenried voting against the submission of an application for Head Start. Doug told the NPJ that he voted no because he believes it would be better for the children if the Head Start was managed by an entity with more educational experience.

“I care about the kids,” said Doug at Monday night’s meeting. To which Paige responded, “I see you do. That’s why you voted against it. This clannish attitude is what you have to deal with down here.”

In reference to Payne Subdivision, Parish President Rick Nowlin said funding for has bounced around over the last several years, totally due to actions by the state of Louisiana and its Capital Outlay Program. It had nothing to do with the Parish of Natchitoches or anyone working for the Parish. Nowlin has been corresponding with people in Baton Rouge over the last two weeks to get this thing moved forward. There is $500,000 committed. Of that, $200,000 is Priority 1 money and $300,000 is Priority 5 money, which won’t be available until after July 1, 2019. The Parish could go to construction on the project and wait to be reimbursed by the state when it gets the $300,000. However, if the Parish moves forward and spends all the money ($300,000 plus the Parish’s approximate $167,000 project match) and doesn’t get reimbursed, it’s just spent the money it would need for road maintenance in the second half of the year. “I don’t think we have the funds to take the risk,” said Nowlin.

12 thoughts on “Parish Council shuts down creation of Road Tax Districts

  1. So Doug de Graffenreid is a racist? ROTFL!! The race card is the last refuge of a scoundrel, and Paige has nothing else to offer. BTW, the article says “clannish,” but it’s obvious that Paige was actually making reference to the Klan. Shameful and disgusting.

  2. Some of you will be happy and rejoice; more and more people- especially college graduates- are moving out of town. One day you will have your little town without a university, no decent streets, and little of anything else except dollar stores, which seems to be the favorite mind-set here. That reveals something. I agree with Matt.

    • could you imagine if NSU was gone ? the roads are already as bad
      as a third world country,i swerve to miss them daily going home.I sure rather get a ticket then pay for front end work .I owe you a beer H.

  3. just typical good ole boys helping friends and kin.They don’t want to see this
    town grow at all,thats why people shop out of town,eat out of town more to do elsewhere.there are better roads in other parishes this is by far the worst roads I have seen.there is no good quality jobs here most people travel for work and these roads are tearing up peoples vehicles while council members
    bicker..stop thinking of yourselves and think about the people .

  4. Its high time we get rid of Chris Paige. This idiot has the nerve to call someone racist just because that person voted no on Paige’s pet project? This useless lump has consistently voted against any help to get our roads fixed just because (he says) his constituents don’t drive. What a stupid way to think. I will gladly campaign for a suitable replacement for this idiot. Chris Paige has been the most at fault for killing any and every idea for economic development in the rural parts of this parish. All he cares about is his one little subdivision. Mr. Degraffenreid does not deserve to be slandered as a racist. Paige is truly a horrible spiteful person for doing that.

  5. I will remember this when it comes time to vote. It seems the only way to make progress here is to change some members on the council.

  6. This may be comical if it weren’t reality for us. There is this irony that exists in our community, especially now as it applies to the parish council, HRC, and changing it back. Folks talk about the need for “self determination” but fail to realize that if we move back to a Police Jury system that the voters will no longer have a say in who the Parish President will be because the council will elect them. More cronyism at work. I am not for that at all and want my voice and my fellow parishioners heard.

    What is even more sad is that there is this “tit for tat” attitude going on within the council. Justifying inaction because someone didn’t vote in “yea” with you on a completely separate matter is childish and not in the interest of the greater good for the community. Especially when the matter in question PASSED regardless of that “nay” vote. The same person consistently votes “no” on road issues because as he has stated in the past, “my constituents don’t drive.” Well, even if that were true, police, fire, and EMS do and I guarantee the voters in the district NEED those services. Without infrastructure to get to those homes how long will it take emergency services to arrive? How many lives will be impacted or potentially placed into grave danger because of that? If one truly cared for their district they’d be moving mountains to make roads happen, regardless of the SES category of that district. They’d also look at each issue for what the issue is, not allowing other issues that are not relevant to the issue and how people voted on them as a means to justify their actions (or lack thereof).

    • Based on what has been said, and done, Payne has not been ignored. If anything it’s the only area in the parish with a set plan. President Nowlin is being prudent to make sure the state reimbursement happens before committing half the parish’s road budget to that one small area, Payne. But, maybe I’m confused, isn’t Payne the subdivision “where nobody drives?” Yet we are committing HALF the parish budget to it!

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