Editorial: All three property tax renewals deserve passage

All voters in Calcasieu Parish will be confronted on Saturday, April 6, with the renewal of three property taxes that help fund road and drainage, juvenile justice services and the parish health unit.

The American Press recommends approval of the renewals, all of which have been on the books for at least 45 years.

The 10-year, 4.06 mill Road and

Drainage Tax was originally passed by voters in 1953. It helps build,

modify and maintain

more than 1,240 miles of roadways and 155 bridges in the parish,

along with ditches and drainage. The tax also funds the Parish’s

Road and Drainage Trust Fund, which has been used to attract

local, state and federal matching funds for road and drainage

projects.

Since 1984, the tax has funded nearly $100 million worth of road and drainage projects in the parish, according the Calcasieu

Parish Administrator Bryan Beam.

A property owner with an assessed value of $200,000 would pay $50.75 annually because of the tax.

The 10-year, 3.49 mill Juvenile Justice

Services Tax was first approved by voters in 1967. It funds, among

other services,

Teen Court, Juvenile Drug Court, the Underage Drinking Prevention

Initiative (Project Know), the Truancy Assessment and Service

Center, Families in Need of Services (FINS), case supervision and

management and the Juvenile Detention Center which is capable

of housing up to 38 juveniles ages 10-17 who require short-term

placement.

It also funds the Multi-Agency Resource

Center (MARC), which serves several agencies and organizations with

services available

to juveniles and their families. MARC’s ability to cut the wait

time for these services from several weeks to mere hours has

garnered national acclaim and visits to the facility from across

the country for others juvenile agencies and services interesting

in duplicating MARC in their communities.

An owner with property assessed at $200,000 would be taxed $43.63 annually.

The 10-year, 2.48 mill Health Unit Tax,

first approved by voters in 1951, funds the operation and improvement

of the parish

health unit located at Kirkman Street and Prien Lake Road. It also

funds a satellite office in Sulphur. All parishes are required

to maintain a health unit by the state.

The services the tax supports include immunizations, communicable disease control, maternal and child health, children’s special

health services, restaurant and business sanitation inspections, animal rabies and disease control and vital records.

A property owner with an assessed value of $200,000 would pay $31 annually via this tax.

Beam points out that all three of these taxes have been trimmed by the Police Jury since their inceptions.

We believe each one of these taxes is a bargain for the services they help fund and that their continuance is vital to the

well-being of the entire parish.

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This editorial was written by a member of the American Press Editorial Board. Its content reflects the collaborative opinion of the Board, whose members include Bobby Dower, Jim Beam, Crystal Stevenson and Donna Price.