Letter to the Editor: Road Tax this March

Dear Editor:

A letter about the one-half cent tax dedicated to roads; on Saturday, March 30 ballot.

To my friends and pot hole dodgers. We have a tax to vote on in March. It’s the only thing on the ballot to vote on, but is so important to our road system. As you know, I took an active part in voting the ½ cent and ¾ cent tax down, because it was not what we needed. Twenty plus years ago, there was enough money in the Police Jury to repair and pave new roads. Today, it is funding more projects than ever before causing a shortage of road money.

Police Jury or Home Rule funds are not a spring of everlasting waters, but are like an old -time cistern or barrel. With a cistern, all you can draw out is what runs in during rainy days. If you share water with other people, your cistern or barrel will go dry. Through the years, too much water has been taken out of the road system cistern and has dried up available water or money.

Reallocating is a possible way to take back some of these buckets of money. This will be next to impossible and take a long time. This ½ cent tax will help pour in new money to the road cistern for roads now instead of years later. Legal buckets have dipped into the road systems cistern through the years because of unconcerned voters. I must admit that I was not concerned about pot holes until there were too many to dodge anymore. Mr. Nowlin and the five council members are not magicians or counterfeiters. They can only use money they have available through voted taxes.

We are all upset about our roads, but what can we do to fix that? The roads did not get this way overnight and will not be fixed overnight. Vote for the tax and start progress in motion. I hear what you’re saying! We can’t trust them with the old money, why give them new money to misuse. We don’t really know that to be true. Road problems started a long time ago, not just in the last five or six years. To pave Allen Beulah Road, it will cost a minimum of two hundred fifty thousand dollars per mile. Seven miles of road adds up to one million seven hundred fifty thousand dollars.

I don’t know how much is being spent every year to patch the patches on this road, but it’s a lot. Paving some of these roads that are money pits will free up patch money to be used on other roads. Most likely maintenance money for two years of maintenance would pave a mile on someone else’s road. As it goes today, our road progress is in reverse. This tax can turn our road progress around.

I hear you again! Why can’t they use the money in better ways instead of a new tax to fix our roads? Fifty-one years ago, I worked a little for the ward, preparing my road for paving. Back then, seven miles of road was most likely less than one mile today. They call this inflation or modern times. Either way you look at it, it means it takes more money today.

This is a good tax that the state will help us with. We need this match money. As a private contractor all my life, I can tell you if there is no money, the job does not get done. If we vote against this tax, we no longer have a right to complain about our roads. I will vote for this tax as I don’t see much progress complaining has ever done except to raise blood pressure.

Thank you for your time and Vote for Progress.

Rev. Mark Megason

31 thoughts on “Letter to the Editor: Road Tax this March

  1. I’m in total agreement with G- tired of local contractors doing road work and they don’t know how. Hire a “retired” Texas road contractor- let him supervise and do it right. No, “dirt” doesn’t change at a State line, but elected officials do; apparently those repeatedly voted in office won’t change anything for fear of not being reelected or selected for a position. .
    If we had a newspaper to publish real news and to investigate other than photograph people walking in one of the dozens of parks, or social gatherings, perhaps powers that be might react differently and even publish a quarterly statement of expenditures for local and parish government. Some city departments/officials have obviously become too lax in caring about loud mufflers, running red lights, throwing trash out the window- I also see and hear it daily.. Fines could be given, but apparently the Chief is overlooking “small stuff.” Vehicles are sometimes parked headed the opposite direction on Front Street– Is this legal?? Maybe for a horse and buggy town. What have we become? Do we not have tickets for anything but speeding and stopping college kids leaving local establishments? Take the students away and we become Many o Winnfield. A college town should offer more, much more.
    Also, lighting on downtown Front and Second Street- bulbs need to be replaced or improved. Seems everyone has become too lazy to notice anything- except loud music along Front Street . Maybe the mayor and police chief should drive the streets after dark sometimes and notice little things, and City Council, where are you?
    Caspari Street, another example, across from the university is a mess. Looks terrible for visitors passing– lawnmowers and junk all along the way. Clean it up.
    This could be a beginning, or a change?

    • Agree. Time for real change. Need a new mayor. I like Lee Posey, personally, he’s a good guy. But this city needs a butt-kicker! The city council is useless too.

    • Well then, you will no doubt join our group trying to raise capital to purchase property near NSU. The strip mall on Bossier Street, some vacant properties and others are for sale. Caspari, Behan and several other streets are in our target area. We welcome you aboard. Contact me. Full disclosure: I am a licensed real estate agent in Louisiana.

      • Jim, I endorse your idea! Bossier, Caspari, Behan and several other streets along the way was once a small village basically for students and faculty. The strip mall was once filled- our first taco place and Baskin Robbins- and could be filled again with establishments for college students. This college town doesn’t have a recreational center or a plain ole pool hall with cold beer anymore. Even Jefferson has that! You are familiar with other college towns.
        The mall could be a small Tiger Town instead of a Ghost Town. Someone from out of town could could purchase, put a bit of money into it, and operate a goldmine if locals allowed it. There were more options for our Demons during the 60’s-70’s than today. Once there were cafes/restaurants in little nooks all over downtown, bars/pool tables/shuffleboard and more all over town. Even the graveled riverfront, Maggios white framed building, Chief Drive In theatre, Waddle Inn all nighter, and A&W Rootbeer offered diversity– and the student union had pool tables, bowling, always a Wednesday night dance — and occasionally campus pantie raids and streakers that offered harmless and innocent fun. What was fun then is perhaps not fun today. Just a thought !

      • Thank you, Mr. Arthur. My wife was an undergrad at NSU in the 1970’s and she remembers the Baskin & Robbins fondly. And, you are also correct about the need for “outside” money. Obviously locals have no interest in revitalizing the area adjacent to campus, or someone would have done it by now.

        Sadly, many of those same locals who have done nothing, would make it difficult for any “outsiders” to be successful TRYING to do something. And yes, there are locals who would embrace the effort…root it on!…but offer little in the way of tangible support.

        Our first effort to build an investment group failed. We had folks interested, but we could not all agree, find a consensus, on the details of a plan. I, and a few others, are still interested.

  2. There is one undeniable fact. By doing away what Home Charter there is an immediate savings of hundreds of thousands of money to use for road repair.

  3. Traffic fines…that’s the ticket! (pun intended). Start with the loud pipes crowd. I was told there are laws against loud pipes and a first offense is $500. In one day, along Keyser, they can take in $20,000!

    Of course there are other means. People run red lights in Natch like it’s going out of style! Not just one car, but many. They tailgate each other and just keep rolling thru a red. Then those same drivers sit there when the light turns green, go figure.

    • How about writing tickets for littering, a fortune to be made, especially on Hwy. 1 North, always looks like you’re driving through a dump.

      • Agreed! I despise those who litter. Years ago I was sitting at red light and saw someone in the car ahead of me toss a trash bag out. I got out, picked it up, and followed them. At the next red light, I got out and tossed it back into their car, “You dropped this!” I told them.

      • Yep, litterers are lazy. And they don’t have to be in a moving car. How many times have you found a used diaper in the Walmart parking lot? Or chicken bones? Or, when in season, a box top of crawfish shells?

        I find it a little funny when I see trash from Burger King, Sonic, or Mickey D’s in the Taco Bell drive through. Folks, be loyal about where you litter!

      • Thank you IEK for mentioning our Trash Hwy 1. Most of the trash along Hwy 1 N starts at the city limits and ends just past the parish trash compactor station. It is obvious that the majority of the roadside trash comes from the city trucks, and private commercial haulers. There is no enforcement of our trash laws.

    • hell if you could fix roads with traffic finds Robeline should have
      brand new roads .No telling what they make monthly on finds or
      how much certain people pocket .

  4. I think we should go after half of the millage that the cane river authority is receiving, since that are wasting most of the money they taking in. I know this would require some legislation, but I think it’s worth they try. When has the cane river authority done work in the river. Trees fall in the lake and present a hazardous condition and are never removed.

    • There’s so much waste on the part of the CRWC it’s scary!!! I wish they would useit right and what it’s for! If not I agree move it to the roads. NO NEW TAX .

  5. So they have wasted the money they had and now they want more. If this tax goes through, the only thing that will change is they will have more of our money to waste as they see fit. I will vote no on this tax. A tax won’t make the roads better, proper management of the money they already get will.

  6. I know taxes are necessary in life but there are other things that need to be considered first. I believe that one of the things to consider in fixing roads is where the money has gone. Newly refurbished or replaced roads don’t last and then more money has to spent to fix the roads again. Spending money on roads numerous times is not money well spent. Fix them right the first time and make them last. This will allow more roads to be fixed over the long term. Hire a good contractor the first time. One that knows how to do roadwork the right way and stop hiring the same contractor(s) that appear to be doing a horrible job. Somebody is getting rich on our dimes and it is pathetic. I have heard the excuse that our roads are bad because of the soil/substrate types that we have in Louisiana, which is ridiculous. Many other areas within the state have nice roads on the same type of substrate. In addition, cross the Texas line and the roads are immediately improved. The Louisiana substrate does not end at our state line. Texas awards contracts to good contractors that know how to build long lasting roads. In addition, our “patch” jobs that go on in our City and Parrish are extremely poor. Many times they make the roads worse. Instead of hitting a large pot hole, we now have to drive on a road that is like a golf ball because they fill the hole with whatever material and don’t bother packing it down so it is now large bump, which becomes a series of bumps. It is amazing to me that the repair process relies on cars to pack and smooth the patch work. Also, I believe that an independent, outside source needs to be hired to evaluate and prioritize which roads need to be fixed/replaced. It would be an unbiased way of getting roads fixed. No nepotism or biases. I am personally tired of seeing the majority of roadwork being completed downtown and other specific areas. While I understand that those roads need to be worked on as well, the public sees this and aren’t as “on-board” with approving taxes for more of the same. Obviously, there are many other roads that need to be fixed. Additionally, I would like to see the City & Parrish use some already obtained funds to purchase the right equipment for in-house repairs and to properly train the road working crews so they know the correct way to repair the roads. I would think that it would be money well spent and probably cost less over the long term.

  7. State and Federal gov aren’t helping out the way they used to do. Nobody wants more taxes. But what are the other options? Look at how much tuition has gone up at NSU since the state stopped helping out so much. As far back as I can remember, there was no golden age of roads out in the parish. Roads cost money. No amount of fat trimming from the budget is going to get things paved. Everybody wants the government to do something for them but nobody wants to pay for it.

    I agree the library budget looks enormous. But look at it compared to comparable parishes. It’s half of Webster Parish’s and within $500k of Lincoln’s. That being said, why is the library salaries line item larger than that of of any other parish governmental department?

  8. We should call in for federal help because we are close to a disaster
    our local government cannot run itself or it steals from itself and how many
    time do you raise our taxes when we already pay a lot in taxes.This is one
    of the poorest states in the country and it hasn’t changed in years,not all parishes have awful roads.

  9. We have one of the highest tax rates in the country, and we still live in a s&^%hole. Where is all this money going?!? Furthermore, they could raise sales tax 5% and still couldn’t fix every road in this giant Parish. It’s simple math. We are one of the largest Parishes, and one of the least populated. Not a good equation for collecting money to fix thousands of miles of roads.

  10. Our cistern is still the same size as it’s always been and you have as many or more dippers! No new tax until the holes are plugged!

  11. I agree completely with this opinion. It is the only way to get the road situation headed in the right direction. And I feel that we as voters should educate ourselves on how we’ve directed our tax dollars to into coffers that I would deem “less critical” or even outdated concepts; like the Library and even the level that we fund the Cane River Waterway (and a couple others). Not that these are bad entities but they are over-funded relative to the total tax dollars we have to divide up. Ask yourselves whether a “Book-mobile” or cutting edge new library building in Campti is more important than decent roads in the age of E-Books and internet. Are these necessities or luxury items? And as voters we own some of the blame for approving these taxes (levels). Better roads not only improve our daily life but will help attract new economic opportunities to the parish… Infrastructure matters when courting new industry to our parish. I hope we can come together and pass this tax.

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