Officials push tax renewals

September 30, 2010 at 11:17 pm

published Sept. 30, 2010
Moss Bluff voters hear from Beam, DeRosier, Mancuso in final town hall meeting

MOSS BLUFF — In the final town hall meeting before Saturday’s election, Calcasieu officials reiterated to Moss Bluff residents Wednesday the importance of renewing a courthouse and jail maintenance tax.

Officials said residents in Ward 1 would vote on a 3.27-mill property tax that funds facilities such as the Clerk of Court’s Office and Juvenile Justice Services. Parish Administrator Bryan Beam said these facilities were built with gambling revenues, but the parish has the responsibility to maintain them.

District Attorney John DeRosier told the crowd of about a dozen that he was confident in how the Police Jury manages money and that the board was already making budget cuts.

“With the successful passing of this tax, the Police Jury will still have to make cuts,” DeRosier said.

When asked about the consequences of the tax renewals not passing, Beam said some reserve funds and gambling revenue can cover the costs for up to two years.

“Our concern is we could lose gaming if Texas legalizes gambling,” Beam said. “As for a future revenue, we would have to try and come back with (a tax) that’s more passable.”

Sheriff Tony Mancuso said he thinks that much of the anti-tax sentiment he has heard stems from anger toward the federal government.

“The problem is the public is just mad, but I don’t think they’re so much fed up with us,” he said. “It’s in general. Times are hard, but please don’t take away what we already have.”

He said the main cuts at the Sheriff’s Office over the past two years have been made through retirement and attrition and delays in filling posts.

“I’ll be honest, I don’t want to make cuts. I think we have good programs and we run a good department,” Mancuso said. “But we’ll suffer through this like everyone else is and we’ll figure it out.”

Mancuso said he also understands that there is a trickle-down effect from his deputies being more proactive. It means more arrests, which creates more cases for the District Attorney’s Office.

“I just don’t think it’s a good idea to say, ‘We don’t want anymore taxes, even the one’s we have already. Even if it results in cutting essential services,’ ” DeRosier said.

While praising the Sheriff’s Office DARE program, Ward 1 Police Juror Shannon Spell said sometimes residents don’t see the big picture when asking for more budget cuts.

“Then when we see what the cuts do, we’re calling back saying put that back in,” Spell said.

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