Posts tagged ‘property tax’

Officials push tax renewals

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

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.

September 30, 2010 at 11:17 pm

Calcasieu officials tout tax renewals

BY VANESSA C. DEGGINS

In a Monday night town hall hosted by the African American Chamber of Commerce, Calcasieu Parish police jurors and parish officials outlined two tax renewals that will be on the Oct. 2 ballot.

One is a 1.5-cent sales tax that covers road improvements and garbage collection in Wards 2-8. The second is a property tax that pays for courthouse and jail maintenance.

District 4 Police Juror Claude Syas and Parish Administrator Bryan Beam outlined some of the services the two taxes cover, including the parish health unit and mosquito control.

“There are a lot of things in the city limits that these dollars build and maintain,” Beam said.

One project about to be completed is the Allen P. August multipurpose annex, which will be open in about a month.

The building, on the corner of Moeling and North Prater streets, will house the Food for Seniors program, which provides groceries once a month, said Randy Vincent with the Office of Community Services.

He said the project was started by Elcie Guillory when he was a state representative.

“After taking advantage of some capital gains funds, the Police Jury matched the funds to start the project,” Vincent said.

District 9 Police Juror Kevin Guidry directed the attendees’ attention to the property tax renewal, saying the cost would be low regardless.

“If you’re home is worth less that $75,000, you’re exempt. For $100,000, you’d pay $8.18 a year, or 68 cents per month,” Guidry said.

“So we’re not out to break anyone. We know times are hard, but we also need you to understand the important services you’re paying for.”

Attendees’ questions and comments varied.

North Lake Charles resident John Nash said many people don’t know that the two taxes are renewals — not new taxes.

“Taxes is something we don’t like, and it’s something I have to deal with as a business owner,” Nash said. “You have to look at all the services that are provided. These are things we need on a daily basis.”

Another resident expressed concern about a lack of minority contractors and workers on various projects.

District 3 Police Juror Elizabeth Griffin said all pro–jects are subject to state laws that regulate the bidding process, and that the Police Jury can’t change them.

Griffin said she watches the issue closely and tries to make sure minority contractors are state- and locally certified — a requirement to bid on any project.

“I have walked multiple minority contractors through the process and am currently working with others,” she said. “But it will always be the contractors’ responsibility to come to me and ask for help and stick with the process.”

link: http://bit.ly/9wsYTV

September 14, 2010 at 7:41 pm

Westlake council votes to maintain millage rate

WESTLAKE — The City Council on Monday voted to maintain the city’s millage rate at 6.4 for the 2010-2011 fiscal year.

Finance Director Lonnie Smart said the maximum allowable increase to 6.49 would have upped the city’s income by only about $2,300.

“We just didn’t see the need to pass that on to the taxpayer,” Smart said. “It’s such a small amount.”

Smart said the recommendation was from the city’s senior accountant, Jimmy Ashworth.

“This doesn’t mean we won’t look at increases in the future, but right now we don’t see the need,” Smart said.

For the 2009-2010 year, revenue based on the assessed value of property in the city declined by $390,027 to $23,749,360, according to city records.

A taxing body may roll millages forward to make up for any loss of revenues caused by reduced assessment.

link: http://bit.ly/9GfH0Q

July 21, 2010 at 8:29 pm