Avoyelles Police Jury puts tax propositions on Dec. 8 ballot

Solid waste tax includes 1-cent renewal + new 8-mill property tax

There will be two local tax propositions on the Dec. 8 ballot -- one parishwide and one in the Bunkie area.

The most significant proposition is the parishwide tax package to support the Avoyelles Parish Police Jury’s solid waste collection and disposal program.

The initial 1-cent sales tax is coming up for renewal. That tax is divided with 3/4 dedicated to the solid waste program and 1/4 to pay for parishwide road maintenance and repairs.

Anticipating the solid waste contract will exceed the 3/4-cent sales tax revenues when the contract comes up for renewal in three years, the Police Jury decided to also call an 8-mill property tax dedicated solely for the solid waste program.

Police Jury President Charles Jones said the last 5-year contract increased by $250,000 and erased the annual surplus that had been in the account. He said past experience indicates the jury should be prepared for a similar, or larger, price hike at the next renewal and again five years later if changes aren’t made in how the parish handles its garbage.

Jones said most parishes leave it up to the individual residents and businesses to pay a company to haul away their garbage. He said Avoyelles could join that crowd if the solid waste tax is not approved.

The sales tax and property tax are being presented as one proposition, so both will pass or fail together.

That decision was made because of the likelihood that the sales tax or the 8-mill property tax alone would be insufficient to cover the costs of solid waste management in the parish.

PUBLIC COMMENTS

There were only a few comments at a public hearing held Aug. 14 to discuss the tax prior to officially putting it on the Dec. 8 ballot.

Bobby Bordelon of Spring Bayou said linking the sales tax renewal with a new property tax could jeopardize the sales tax’s chances at the polls.

He said the Police Jury should seek only the renewal this year and then present a supplemental property tax proposition to voters once the Police Jury knows for sure that costs will increase.

Another man, who did not identify himself, said the tax has to pass because the alternative is that an already bad illegal dumping problem “will get 10 times worse.”

Jones said the additional tax revenue will not only protect against future price increases, but will also give the parish enough money to improve that portion of the overall solid waste program that is done by parish employees.

One thing they hope to do is to open up the Parish Barn dump in Mansura to once again accept commercial waste. At this time, it is unable to do so.

TRANSFER STATION

A major project the jury hopes to achieve over the next few years is to build a garbage transfer station at the Parish Barn.

This would enable the parish to split its garbage contract into multiple contracts -- collection, hauling and disposal -- instead of having an all inclusive contract.

With multiple contracts, there is the likelihood of more competition and a lower overall cost, Jones said.

HOSPITAL RENEWAL

Hospital District 2 in the Bunkie area will also be asking voters to renew its 4.9-mill property tax, which helps with the operating costs for Bunkie General Hospital.

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