The Parish of Natchitoches is facing a critical situation in regard to its road and bridge maintenance program. For many years, the Parish has not had the resources to adequately repair its roads and bridges. It has reached the point where roads are barely passable for residents and damages to vehicles are a regular occurrence. Other than having a qualified workforce, the major obstacle to economic development (more jobs) in our area is the condition of our road system.

To address this problem, the Parish needs to generate additional funding for road and bridge repairs. The Parish has placed a one-half cent sales tax on the March 30, 2019 ballot for the voters’ consideration. If approved by the voters, the tax would generate approximately $1,000,000 per year. The language of the ballot measure requires the tax money to be spent on roads and bridges only. It would be illegal for it to be used for any other purpose by the Parish.

The sales tax would be collected parish-wide, except in the City of Natchitoches and the Town of Campti, both of which have tax rates that are already at the maximum allowed by law. The amount of road tax paid by each family would depend on how much the family spends on taxable items, as shown in the attached table.  For example, a family that spends $30,000 per year on taxable items would pay a road sales tax of $2.88 per week, or $150.00 per year. At the same time, the family’s state sales tax is $3.17 per week, or $165.00 per year, less than it was in 2018 due to a reduction in state sales tax. In other words, the increase in local sales tax is less than the decrease in the state sales tax.

Most people are not aware that there are approximately 1000 roads in the Parish road maintenance inventory and the highway department has a total of 18 employees (including the director, secretary and shop mechanic) to take care of them. Thirty years ago, the highway department had over 100 employees to maintain basically the same mileage of roads. As costs increased faster than revenues, the Police Jury reduced the size of the department. If we are to make any improvements in our roads, we simply have to be willing to put more money into the effort.

This is not a choice of improving our roads or staying as we are. Either we will fund road improvements or the roads will continue to decline. That means that job opportunities and the quality of life for our people will suffer. Ultimately, the choice belongs to the voters.

Rick Nowlin

Nowlin Taxable Spending Table


  1. everytime one of us hits a pothole and needs front end repair,an alignment,
    etc …send a copy of your bill to the city to the parish its beyond obvious they don’t have desire one to fix the roads .

  2. The taxes are crippling as they are now . I don’t think anyone would agree to another tax unless they have total transparency and can show the constituents that 100% of the revenue is going to roads and they’re distributed evenly, not just in the city of Natchitoches. People in the rural areas pay taxes to .

  3. I hesitate to vote for another tax until the Parish Council and the La. Legislature approve a local election redirecting to the Parish Road Fund surpluses now held by RRWC, CRWC, NPLibr., Levee boards, all fire districts, NPSO, etc and redirecting a percentage of annual taxes for those entities.

    • Agree 99% can’t cut NPSO . Not the way crime is growing . Everything else needs to be looked into .

    • Many of you present some interesting ideas for reallocating the tax money, but don;t forget it is very hard
      to change this. To reallocate most all of this I think you would have to have an act of the State Legislature, and I’m VERY skeptical you could get them to pass a bill to do so.

      You who are making the comments that ” I am sure I could find the money” why don’t YOU run for a ‘
      council seat or a legislative seat next time? When and IF, you are elected, NO excuses! Its easy to be an “arm-chair” council person. Don’t you think the council has looked at every possible way to fund the roads? … Well , O. K…. I will concede the current Council does not seem to be able to work together some just want to sow discord at the expense of the rest of the parish, that is so sad.

      • J.C. Robertson I have considered running in the next election,but I’m not sure I still have the patience to do so after seeing how these meetings are handled. This form of government is not new! Ask yourself why does it work in other parishes but not here? I’m use to going into meetings and being organized with an agenda and following that agenda. This is how you get things done! It’s not who yells the loudest that should be in control! It’s not tabling things and issues because things are getting heated. Our new government is still in it’s infancy and has growing pains. I don’t know if they reach out to a parish that’s been on it or not but using the ROV issue as an example,its come up in some parish some where! It’s as easy as a phone call from on parish attorney to another to see how it was done! Home Rule charters and exactly a like,with each one having their on power to make some local ordinances as long as they still are within state guidelines. Now we are looking a law suits and more wasted time and money . It a organized meeting with no personal agendas and staying on business working for the same goal,they could get done in an hour what they can’t get done in 3. I’m not a arm chair type person when it comes to working budgets. I’ve worked budgets 10 x what they argue over and there’s fat to cut in every budget! You’re going step on toes and make people mad and takes guts to do it but it can be done .

    • Redo all taxes, library, ambulance, hospital- then prioriothe needs, Most must go to roads. Otherwise, NO tax!

  4. Yes. I would like to see where tax money goes as well. I don’t always think it’s being used appropriately either. Kind of like building permits got up to a dollar per square foot for this parish. While the state average was 30-32 cents per square foot. And the question is “why”.

  5. Taxes in this Parish seem to go where the powers that be want them to go. Dedicated or not! But it also seems a good bit is directed to front Street and plants around town .

  6. I for one would like to see where all the taxes already collected are going. We pay almost the same amount to the Parish as we do to the state already. How are we supposed to keep our employees at a decent pay rate like the parish has if we keep giving to the Parish more and more. Our customers do not deserve us raising our rates and paying more to the parish. It is just a vicious cycle.

  7. Ok, instead of adding new taxes, why not put before the voters using tax dollars already received for other earmarks, for roads in a yearly percentage. Case in point, the Parish library has a surplus of $12+ mil in capital already. I’d be happy to vote to alot $1mil a year to keep from more taxes. You, as Council members have the responsibility to spend what you have, not take more. Be it known that you seal your job’s fate with support for new taxes. I’m voting against you.

  8. The crappy thing about doing it through property tax is that the people who pay the most toward it rarely see the benefits. For example, the ten large houses on my road pay enough in property tax to blacktop our road ourselves. But as it is we can barely drive down it. But we would have paid hundreds of thousand in property tax between us over a few years. And watch it spent elsewhere.

  9. Randy you need to cite your source, if true I’d bet the money generated isn’t sufficient anyway and this needs to be a property tax that everyone pays.

    • I have a better idea, Mr/Ms Anon 7 YOU pay for it! I’m sure the parish would accept donations, earmarked for the roads. Everyone pays property tax? Ah, nope, everyone does not. However everyone pays sales tax.

    • I’m not sure why you think everyone pays property tax. The $75k homestead exemption leaves many paying little to nothing. Also the industrial exemption leaves businesses like Alliance paying noting, which is worth millions.

      We can certainly debate the proposed tax, but at least Mr Nowlin states the obivious about roads bring a hinderence to economic development. My guess is that schools are probably a close second.

      Given Mr Nowlin’s previous article on where taxes are spent, it is apparent we may need to re-order our priorities, regardless of what we decide on this particular tax

  10. We already have a tax in place for road improvements. It was placed on all big trucks in the parish years ago however that money was taken and used for other projects. Bring that money back. We don’t need another tax. I am tired of my money being used by some politicians for their political gains.

    • Randy,
      I too would like to know your source for the “big truck” tax you say has been used for other than
      what it was intended. I suspect that is expired. Please present some documentation, that should not
      be difficult if it was a tax act.

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