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Monday, July 28, 2014
Southwest Louisiana ,
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Know the ballot and have your say

Last Modified: Friday, April 04, 2014 11:55 AM

Mayoral races in Sulphur, DeRidder and Leesville, city council seats in Sulphur and several tax propositions highlight tomorrow’s ballots in Calcasieu, Beauregard, Jeff Davis and Vernon parishes.

The most significant ballot item is a quarter-cent sales tax swap in Calcasieu Parish proposed by the Calcasieu Parish Police Jury. It would fund desperately needed expansion of sewer services along major arteries in many of the parish’s unincorporated areas. If approved, the proposition would be “tax neutral,” dedicating the tax that is now used for road improvement and garbage to help fund $110 million worth of sewer expansion in Lake Charles, Moss Bluff, Sulphur, Carlyss, Westlake, Iowa, DeQuincy and Vinton. The sales tax in Ward 1 — Moss Bluff and Gillis — would increase from 9.25 to 9.5 percent since Ward 1 residents don’t pay the existing road and garbage tax.

Proponents say the sewer infrastructure is needed to reduce the flow of untreated waste into ditches and area waterways and as a catalyst to spur economic development in the unincorporated areas, where nearly 45 percent of the parish residents live.

Opponents counter that the plan will eventually cost home and business owners money when they have to pay to tie into the system.

The proposition has been endorsed by the American Press and the Chamber Southwest Louisiana.

Voters parishwide will also decide the fate of two property tax renewals that pay for mosquito control throughout Calcasieu Parish and helps fund the Calcasieu Parish District Attorney’s Office and 14th Judicial District Court.

Voters in Lake Charles and parts of Westlake, Maplewood and Carlyss will decide if they want to renew a 0.63-mill property tax that funds some of the operations and facilities at Lake Charles Regional Airport.

Voters at three precincts in north Lake Charles and the Manchester area are being asked to renew a 6.39-mill property tax that provides money for Waterworks District 5 of Wards 3 and 8.

Sulphur voters will decide who heads their city government. Incumbent Chris Duncan faces former Mayor Ron LeLeux, Clopha Boudreaux and Mike Koonce. Four council races also dot the ballot in Sulphur.

In DeRidder, incumbent Ron Roberts faces Robert “Bo” Rice for the mayor’s position, and incumbent Robert Rose is being challenge by Rick Allen for Leesville’s mayoral post. Council positions in Leesville and New Llano are also up for grabs.

If you haven’t already, study the issues, and have your say tomorrow at the ballot box.

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