Editorial: Let your voice be heard by casting your vote

Voters in five parishes in Southwest Louisiana will head to the polls Saturday to determine the fate of a variety of property tax issues and a smattering of municipal and justice of the peace elections.

In Calcasieu Parish, a taxing vehicle to help fund construction of a hotel adjacent to the Lake Charles Civic Center and three parishwide property tax renewals headline the ballot.

Lake Charles city officials are

pushing a sales tax increment financing plan that would collect existing

sales taxes from

a district in and around the Civic Center and portions of the

lakefront. If approved, the revenue would be used to issue bonds

to help fund construction of a 150-room hotel near the northwest

corner of the Civic Center.

Proponents have long maintained

that the Civic Center and downtown area would benefit from a hotel

contiguous to the facility.

Opponents, including the local hotel/motel association, say the

hotel is not needed, that it would obstruct the view of the

lake and would consume vital Civic Center parking spaces.

The tax renewals are for property taxes that have been in place for at least 35 years and fund road and drainage projects,

juvenile justice services and the health unit.

The American Press has recommended passage of the TIF proposal for the hotel and the three parishwide tax renewals.

Voters in Sulphur, Vinton and Iowa will also consider property tax issues that will fund school improvements in those respective

districts.

Elections will also decide who will hold three Lake Charles City Council seats — Districts A, B and G — the Vinton chief of

police duties and the five Vinton Town Council seats.

In Ward 1 of Allen Parish, voters will decide on a justice of the peace and constable.

Voters in Jennings will determine who will serve as the city’s mayor for the next four years.

Some Beauregard Parish voters will have their say on a property tax to fund operations in Fire Protection District No. 4 and

who will be elected justice of the peace in District 2.

In Vernon Parish, New Llano voters will chose a town councilman in a special election.

Take time tomorrow to exercise your voting privilege and let your voice be heard.

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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.