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Mar 21, 2010 8:08 PM by Sarah Rosario

Acadiana Fishermen and Farmers Could be in Danger.

Clean water comes at price. At least that's the case for those who live in Lafayette, Vermilion, St.Martin and Iberia Parishes. The outcome of a March 27th election could affect farmers and fisherman in a big way.

It's something that happens every 10 years. This Saturday voters will decide whether or not to renew the property tax that supports the Teche-Vermilion Fresh Water District. The district has a pumping station in Krotz Springs which is the sole supplier for all of the clean water that flows through Bayou Teche and Bayou Vermilion.

Pumping station operator Roy Comeaux says "It's the main thing that supplies the fresh water down south from here in Krotz Springs. It keeps the salt water erosion for coming back up."
The water helps irrigate crops and support life, including crawfish, but it comes at a price; a 1.5 mill property tax to keep it operating and maintained.

Comeaux says, "During the summer time it gets really staggered, the water gets bad. During Hurricane season we have dead fish floating in the water and leaves. We need to flush that out."

The problem is people do not want to pay a millage tax. They say the Teche-Vermilion pumping station has a significant amount of money set aside so why should they pay? Supervisor Ralph Castille says, "The reason we have this money in reserve is because we're mandated to by the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers." The money in reserve totals $20 million. Castille says it's supposed to be used for maintenance or emergencies only. If the tax isn't renewed he says it will hurt those who make their living off the water.

The millage rate for a homeowner with a house valued at 100-thousand dollars would be $3.72 per year. Voting day is next Saturday, March 27th.

Sarah Rosario
srosario@katctv.com

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