proposed the new taxes has determined “other opportunities” exist that may provide additional funding for the DA’s office, Council Chairman Kevin Naquin said.
Lafayette Parish voters will return to the voting booth Dec. 8. Sheriff Mark Garber told The Daily Advertiser Tuesday he is placing a 3/4-cent parish wide sales tax on the ballot for the Sheriff’s Office and Lafayette Police.
Sales tax revenues are shrinking
Parish government is required by state law to provide operating expenses to the parish jail and district courts. The state does not provide the funding, though, so the money comes from the parish general fund. That fund is shrinking as sales tax revenues in unincorporated areas shrivel because of annexation and the economy.
The jail is supported in part by a tax approved when it was a one-story jail, not the five-story building used today. Operations and maintenance of the jail in Downtown Lafayette is supplemented with money from a courthouse complex tax, which leaves less money available for the parish courthouse.
Councilman Kenneth Boudreaux said when he got fired he had to dip into his reserve. Parish government has dipped into its reserve for years, he said, “and now the reserve is gone. That’s just not an option anymore.”
James Cromley, president of Acadiana Patriots, and several other residents objected to the tax burden once again falling on property owners, both homeowners and business owners.
Cromley, 71, said when he bought his house he paid $75 a year in property tax. Today he pays more than $600 a year. As several others did, Comley said he would prefer a sales tax.
Parish government is going broke
Councilman Bruce Conque said the parish side of Lafayette Consolidated Government is going broke, just as it was in 1996 when the city and parish were merged. The budget adopted every year is misleading because it is presented in one document, but it’s actually several budgets, for the city of Lafayette, the parish, LUS and LUS fiber, for instance.
City of Lafayette and LUS money cannot be used for the parish. Even some parish funds are dedicated property taxes that can only be spent on the purpose for which voters approved them, he said.
The parish general fund, Conque said, used for day-to-day operations of the parish, only has about $12.7 million a year and 31 percent of that goes to the DA’s office and judges.
“I have repeatedly heard ‘Cut expenses.’ We have done that,” he said. “I am prepared to do much more.”
Review of the 2018-19 budget begins in July. The parish will start 2018-19 on Nov. 1 with nearly $1 million less than it started out with last Nov. 1, Conque said.
How they voted
On both the 2-mill district courts tax resolution and the 2.94-mill tax resolution:
Yes: Kenneth Boudreaux, Jay Castille, Bruce Conque, Pat Lewis, Kevin Naquin
No: Jared Bellard, Nanette Cook, Liz Webb-Hebert, William Theriot
This article was originally sourced from here.