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DayeTime: 'Ecclesiastically' speaking

Happy New Year.

As it says in one of my favorite Old Testament books, “There is no new thing under the sun.”

Of course, The Preacher also says “all is vanity.”

And no, he wasn’t specifically targeting Avoyelles Parish politics with those comments.

However, now that we’re on the subject, what will happen in this parish in 2020?

There are so many areas to talk about -- economic development, or the lack thereof; ways to improve the school system; increasing public services in our municipalities; don’t forget reapportionment later this year or early next.

Rather than take on those heavy subjects, we’ll start the new decade off with one of those familiar topics that, I’m afraid, may have been exactly what Ecclesiastes was talking about.

Parish roads, bridges and drainage.

Oh, let’s add in the courthouse for good measure.

The roads are not getting better just by sitting there and being roads. The courthouse isn’t getting any younger just sitting there being 92 years old. (Happy birthday to the courthouse on Jan. 10.)

I’m going to use one of those four-letter words for the first time this year: T-A-A-X.

The Justice Center tax was defeated because, if I heard critics correctly, “we can use that 1/2-cent sales tax to improve a lot of roads and drainage in this parish.”

Okay. Let’s do just that.

Were the police jurors paying attention to their constituents? Do they not “get the message” that Avoyelles Parish voters want to adopt a 1/2-cent sales tax dedicated to improving parish roads, bridges and drainage?

Am I being sarcastic?

If the jury put such a tax on the ballot, I’ll bet a dollar to a donut I’d be hearing, “Why spend all that money dumping gravel on a dirt road when the parish courthouse is falling down around the judges’ ears?”

Of course, there would be the objection that the parish sales tax rate is too high already and sales taxes are unfair to the poorest members of society.

Don’t propose a property tax, though, because “it isn’t fair that only property owners pay for something that everyone uses.”

In short, the only way public works projects should be funded is through grants.

Grants are “free money,” right? Except they’re either funded with state taxes or federal taxes, depending on the source of the grant.

My heart goes out to the courthouse, pauvre bete.

My Grandma Hamilton had a saying about a person who just couldn’t seem to catch a break -- the kind of guy who, if he was enjoying a bright sunny day, would get sunstroke.

“He’s snakebit and don’t know it.”

The Old Lady may be snakebit.

She gets money for a new roof and, just after work begins, a heavy rain pours through the area where the work was being done, flooding the 4th floor which then leaks down into the 3rd floor.

You remember the 3rd floor, don’t you? Courtrooms, judges’ offices, only one restroom to serve the multitude of court personnel and visitors? Where did we hear about those recently?

Going back to my favorite Old Testament book, let me just say “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.” I looked, but didn’t see, “a time to reject taxes and a time to gather tax funds together.”

Maybe The Preacher just overlooked that one.

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