Anytime there is a tax election, there will be a lot of information put out either in favor of or in opposition to the tax measure. Some information may be correct and some is generally way off base. We hope that the following Q&A will better inform the voters about the road tax election:
Q1: How large is the Parish road system?
A1: The Parish has approximately 1000 roads in its maintenance inventory, plus approximately 100 church and cemetery roads. The public roads consist of about 500 miles of gravel roads and 300 miles of paved roads.
Q2: Why does the Parish need more money to fund road repairs?
A2: The 2019 highway budget includes the following major sources of funds:
Parish property tax for roads: $1,146,000
Parish sales tax for solid waste & roads: 500,000
State transportation fund: 525,000
Kisatchie road fund (federal): 192,000
Other sources: 28,000
The cost of materials, equipment and personnel to repair our roads is exceeding our funds available and we are getting dangerously close to having to cut back our repair efforts. Without additional funds, this could occur before the end of 2019.
Q3: Why are the roads in such bad condition?
A3: There has not been a comprehensive road maintenance plan for many years, dating back to the former police jury. Also, we have experienced several major rain and flood events over the past few years, causing significant damage to our roads.
Q4: How do the voters know that the new tax dollars will be spent on roads and will not simply allow the Parish to move existing road funds to other uses?
A4: The existing road funds are dedicated to road and bridge repairs and improvements. They cannot legally be spent on any other purpose. In addition, the Parish General Fund does not have any funds going to the highway department that could be withdrawn if the new road tax passes. The bottom line is that the existing funds in the highway department will stay in the department if the tax is passed by the voters. The new tax dollars will add to those funds and dramatically improve our ability to make road repairs.
Q5: Will the voters be able to see where the road tax dollars are spent?
A5: Yes. The Parish will post the actual accounting of tax revenues and expenditures online so that the public can see where the money is being spent. In addition, the annual independent audit of Parish finances includes a review of the highway department and its financial operations.
Q6: Will any of the new Parish road funds be spent inside of the City of Natchitoches or the Town of Campti?
A6: No. The City has its own sources of funds for City streets. Campti will receive road repair assistance from the Road District 40 fund which is a property tax that is collected in the Parish, including Campti. None of the new tax funds could be spent in Campti since none of the new tax funds would be collected in Campti.
If there are any other questions concerning the proposed road tax, please contact the Parish at 318-352-2714.