Calcasieu voters approve renewal of Burton tax

By By John Guidroz / American Press

Calcasieu Parish voters Tuesday approved a 10-year renewal of the 1.5-mill Burton Coliseum and Agricultural Services property

tax, which helps maintain several facilities within the parish.

Complete but unofficial results from the parish Clerk of Court show that the tax was approved 50,545-23,959, or 68 percent

to 32 percent.

The parishwide tax has been in place

since 1993 and is expected to generate about $2.35 million each year. Of

that total,

$1.8 million will fund the Burton Coliseum complex; $325,000 will

fund the West Calcasieu Community Center Authority, which

owns Sulphur’s West Calcasieu Arena; and another $325,000 will

fund the LSU AgCenter.

Parish Administrator Bryan Beam said he is glad that residents understand how the tax benefits the parish. He said the Burton

Coliseum hosts more than 200 events each year, and the West Cal Arena hosts 170 events annually.

“We’re just glad to see the margin of victory was solid,” Beam said. “The result was a good affirmation of how people feel

about the services that are provided through this tax.”

The Burton Coliseum is undergoing $5 million in improvements. It is owned by the Police Jury and is managed by McNeese State

University.

Fire protection

Voters approved the renewal a 10-year, 7-mill maintenance tax for maintaining and improving services in Ward 1 Fire Protection

District 1. There vote was 6,455-1,919, or 77 percent to 23 percent.

The tax is expected to generate nearly $400,000 annually.

Voters also approved a 10-year, 8.5 mill property tax renewal to pay for maintenance and operational costs for the Ward 4

Fire Protection District 2. There vote was 3,249-963, or 77 percent to 23 percent.

The tax is expected to collect $1.16 million annually.

Other items

Voters approved limiting the terms of Calcasieu School Board members to three consecutive four-year terms by a 61,692-13,784

margin, 82 percent to 18 percent.

In Vinton, voters approved renewing for 10 years the existing half of a 1 percent sales and use tax for road maintenance and

fire protection. The margin was 817-196, or 81 percent to 19 percent.

The tax is estimated to generate $168,611 annually.

Constitutional Amendments

Calcasieu voters approved nearly eight of nine Louisiana Constitutional Amendments on the ballot.

They approved an amendment to constitutionally protect the Medicaid Trust Fund for the elderly 54,571-22,725, or 71 percent

to 29 percent.

Voters approved an amendment that requires any laws that restrict the right for people to keep and bear arms to go through

the highest level of judicial review. 59,430-18,138, or 77 percent to 23 percent.

Voters approved an amendment that requires a quicker notice for legislation filed that affects the state’s public retirement

system 52,016-22,376 or 70 percent to 30 percent.

Voters approved an amendment that

allows a spouse of a deceased veteran who had 100 percent

service-related disability rating

to claim a higher homestead exemption, even if it wasn’t in effect

when the veteran died. There were 57,809 “yes” votes, or

77 percent, and 16,873 “no” votes, or 23 percent.

Voters approved an amendment that would allow courts to include forfeiture of a portion of a public retirement benefit as

part of a sentence for a public servant convicted of a felony related to his or her office 56,048-19,474, or “74 percent

to 26 percent.

Voters rejected an amendment that would allow New Iberia to grant city property tax exemptions to any property owner annexed

into the city after Jan. 1, 2013, 42,348-29,976, or 59 percent to 41 percent.

Voters approved an amendment that

changes the membership of certain boards and commissions to reflect the

loss of one congressional

district as a result of the 2010 census. 45,504-26,702, or 63

percent to 37 percent.

Voters approved an amendment that allows parishes to permit a local 10-year property tax exemption for certain non-manufacturing

businesses locating or expanding in the parish 39,531-32,787, or 55 percent to 45 percent.

Voters approved an amendment that increases the number of times bills to create crime prevention or security districts must

be advertised and requires the specifics of the bills to be listed in the advertisement. 42,664-29,424, or 59 percent to

41 percent.