Newspaper supports property tax renewal
The American Press editorial board supports the renewal of a 10-year, 3.27-mill parish-wide courthouse and jail maintenance property tax on the Nov. 6 ballot.
The tax has been around since 1987. The renewal rate is the same as when voters last approved it in 2010. The tax raises about $7 million annually.
Renewing the tax is important because it helps maintain operations at the parish Courthouse Complex and Correctional Center.
Voters may not realize that parish government is required by state law to provide criminal justice facilities like a jail and courthouse. Parishes also have to provide office space for the sheriff, tax assessor, registrar of voters, district attorney and clerk of court.
What may seem like a standard renewal is very important for the parish, according to Administrator Bryan Beam. If it fails, he said the parish doesn’t “have any direct revenue stream that’s dedicated to that.”
Along with paying for facilities and office space, the tax also affords feeding prisoners and providing them with medical care, equipment, utilities, custodial services and supplies.
Residents with homes valued at $100,000 would pay $8.18 per year, while homes valued at $150,000 would pay $24.53 a year. Homes valued at $200,000 would pay just over $40 a year. Homes valued at $250,000 and up would pay $57.23 per year.
Some residents may complain about paying too much in property taxes. But this amount isn’t much to pay each year for a service that is essential to the parish.
If approved, the renewal would take effect in 2020.
The 2010 renewal passed easily, with 63 percent of the vote. However, that doesn’t mean voters should skip it at the ballot box this time around.
The last thing Calcasieu Parish needs is for voters to reject this property tax renewal, or ignore it completely. Doing so would put the parish in a tough spot when looking for ways to fund criminal justice facilities, caring for prisoners and providing space for multiple agencies.