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Southwest Louisiana ,
(Special to the American Press)

(Special to the American Press)

Calcasieu voters reject sewerage tax

Last Modified: Saturday, April 05, 2014 10:58 PM

By John Guidroz / American Press

Calcasieu Parish voters on Saturday rejected a 20-year, quarter-cent sales tax that was set up to fund part of a $110 million sewer expansion plan in unincorporated areas. But they approved several tax renewals to fund parish services like mosquito control, criminal justice, airport maintenance and water.

According to unofficial results from the Secretary of State’s Office, the sales tax received 3,154 no votes, or 61 percent, and 2,007 yes votes, or 39 percent.

The expansion was to be funded by the sales tax, more than $50 million in parish gambling funds and nearly $12 million in state capital outlay money. The plan called for extending sewer services into south Lake Charles, Moss Bluff and Carlyss and areas outside Sulphur, Westlake, Iowa, Vinton and DeQuincy. Parish officials chose certain routes that had potential for commercial growth.

Officials said the plan would be “tax neutral” for residents, except those living in the Moss Bluff and Gillis areas. It called for reducing the existing road and garbage tax levied in the parish by a quarter-cent. Ward 1 residents don’t pay the road and garbage tax.

Police Jury President Dennis Scott said that while voters rejected the tax, the parish’s existing sewer problem “is not going to go away.” He said officials will see which areas had the most no votes and look at other ways to improve sewer services.

“I believe we did everything possible to educate voters about the tax,” Scott said. “I believe not enough people cared about the issue to understand what the tax did. A lot of votes were just no votes for the tax and not the issue at hand.”

Parish officials proposed the tax as a way to entice new businesses and improve the quality of life. One major issue discussed was the more than 30,000 mechanical sewer systems that are right outside of homes — some of which don’t work and cause runoff into nearby ditches.

Tax renewals

Voters approved a 10-year, 2.41-mill parishwide property tax renewal to fund mosquito control services like surveillance, pest control and public education.

The tax received 11,761 yes votes, or 75 percent, and 3,999 no votes, or 25 percent.

The millage is unchanged from its 2004 renewal amount. It will generate about $4.16 million per year.

The tax was first approved in 1975.

Voters approved a 10-year, 3.16-mill parishwide property tax renewal to fund operations for the Calcasieu District Attorney’s Office and 14th Judicial District Court.

The tax received 9,612 yes votes, or 61 percent, and 6,040 no votes, or 39 percent.

First approved in 1985, the tax also provides payment for people summoned for jury duty.

Voters within Waterworks District 5 of Wards 3 and 8 approved a 10-year, 6.39-mill property tax renewal to fund maintenance and operating costs within the district.

The tax received 104 yes votes, or 62 percent, and 63 no votes, or 38 percent.

Allen Wainwright, the parish’s public works director, said in March that the tax was first passed in 2004. It brings in about $160,000 per year in operating revenue for the district.

Voters in Lake Charles and parts of Westlake, Maplewood and Carlyss approved the renewal of a 0.63-mill tax that funds operations and facilities at Lake Charles Regional Airport.

The tax received 4,924 yes votes, or 63 percent, and 2,915 no votes, or 37 percent. The tax applies to voters in Airport District 1.

The tax will generate just over $689,000 annually.

All tax renewals take effect Jan. 1.

Posted By: jimmy On: 4/9/2014

Title: sewage

Sewage comes from septic tanks too, but NO BODY on the Police Jury is concerned with inspecting septic tanks, only mechanical systems. Police Jury will NOT inform the public about how many SEPTIC TANKS are in Calcasieu parish that WILL NOT be inspected. Do they even know? Does the American Press know? Why in the world would you inspect only one form of sewage treatment but NOT any others, if you are serious about sewage? Why the free pass on these homes that have 30 and 40 year old septic tanks and field lines, why only inspect newer homes that have the newer mechanical systems? Hello? Does this thing work? Where am I?

Posted By: Michael W On: 4/7/2014

Title: Arrogant Police Jury President

The sewage tax failed because home owners did not agree with it. Why would the PJ President be so arrogant as to say the public did not know what they were voting for? Other taxes passed, so what happened with these Mr. President? The general public understands what is happening around them, so please quit with the arrogance.

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