Two taxes renewed; sewer tax rejected
By John Guidroz
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.
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.”
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.