Last Modified: Saturday, November 23, 2013 8:03 PM
Recent American Press articles on the proposed sewer expansion tax refer to an existing road and garbage tax collected only in Wards 2-8. Part of the proposal is a reduction in that tax to make the new sewer tax not exceed what is currently collected for Ward 2-8 residents. When was the existing road-garbage tax put into place? What is the history of the application to Wards 2-8 and not to Ward 1?
What revenue supports garbage and roadwork in Ward 1 if this tax does not? Has any of the revenue from this tax been spent in Ward 1? If so, how much in relation to the total collected?
Since Ward 1 is desperately in need of sewer work, it can be assumed that a large portion of the sewer expansion work will be done in that ward. The plan presented in the paper seems to suggest that the tax will be applicable across the unincorporated areas, but the funds will be targeted to a few concentrated areas.
The 20-year, quarter-cent sales tax, which voters will consider in April, would pay for work in densely populated areas — Carlyss, Moss Bluff, south Lake Charles, said Bryan Beam, Calcasieu Parish administrator.
But, he said, it would also fund sewage expansion projects throughout the parish, including areas outside the small cities and those along main roads.
The projects included in the plan would establish a sewage infrastructure that would allow for future expansion and economic development, Beam said.
The plan will cost $110 million — a price tag that will be covered by $4.3 million a year in sales tax revenue, $12 million in state capital outlay funds and $56 million, over a decade, in gambling money.
If voters approve the sewage plan sales tax, the parish will shave a corresponding quarter-cent from the existing 1.5-cent road and garbage tax, which, as the reader notes, is paid only in Wards 2-8.
“The road and garbage sales tax was originally placed on the ballot in 1992,” Beam wrote in an email.
“A separate sales tax district had to be created for Ward 1, as the School Board also had a sales tax on that ballot in Ward 1, and the legal cap on sales tax rates would have been exceeded if both had passed. Voters in Ward 1 approved the school tax, but not the road and garbage tax.”
Residents in Ward 1 — the Moss Bluff-Gillis area — pay private service providers to collect their garbage, and the roadwork in the area is paid for with the proceeds from separate sales and property taxes, Beam said.
How many school buses take students to and from S.J. Welsh Middle School? How many students are usually on them?
Calcasieu school system Transportation Director Andy Ardoin said 43 buses transport 736 students to and from S.J. Welsh. Several of the buses also ferry students for Barbe High and nearby elementary schools, he said.
The Informer answers questions from readers each Sunday, Monday and Wednesday. It is researched and written by Andrew Perzo, an American Press staff writer. To ask a question, call 494-4098, press 5 and leave voice mail, or email firstname.lastname@example.org