Posted: Dec 27, 2011 6:41 PM by Melissa Hawkes
Updated: Jan 2, 2012 9:04 AM
Slot taxes at Evangeline Downs generate millions of dollars for St. Landry Parish Government, but where's it all going?
Parish President Don Menard said, fifty-five percent goes towards improving roadways, but drivers said the roads seem to be getting worse not better.
Driver Dan Ewing, said, "Highway I-90 is terrible. It's one of the worst roads we've seen all the way from the Texas line to Baton Rouge."
Tony Beebe added, "they are abysmal. They are sub-par, and they'll just stay that way."
About 3 million dollars a year in slot revenue from Evangeline Downs Race Track and Casino is used by St Landry Parish Government to improve roads. Menard said it's not anywhere close to enough money to make major improvements.
Menard said, "for the work that needs to be done in the parish, it would take millions and millions of dollars."
It costs 185 thousand dollars to pave just one mile of roadway. Many roads are only patched up because money can be stretched farther that way.
"We are putting band-aids on a terminal illness," Menard said. "We are actually wasting money because we are maintaining roads that need well beyond maintaining. They need total reconstruction."
Some parish roads are more than 50 years old and have never been repaved. He thinks a new tax could help solve the growing problem.
He explained, "dedicated to improving roads- black topping roads. Then you can use that racino money to maintain them."
St Landry Parish voters have actually voted on this kind of tax at least twice, but both times the measure failed to get enough votes.
The other 45 percent of the racino tax money is split up-going toward other city and parish entities, like the Opelousas Police Department, the district attorney's office and the St Landry Parish Airport. Also all 12 municipalities in the parish get a few thousand dollars a month from the earnings to spend at their own discretion.