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Lafayette Parish budget could sink or float with tax proposals on Nov. 18 ballot

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Courtesy MGN Online Courtesy MGN Online
LAFAYETTE -

Lafayette Parish voters on Nov. 18 will determine whether the parish budget is in grave peril or just plain bad shape. The Nov. 18 ballot consists of two property tax renewals that voters rejected in April, as well as the reallocation of an existing tax.

Early voting starts Friday and runs through Nov. 11.

The two taxes proposed for renewal generate nearly $10 million a year for the courthouse complex, at 2.34 mills, and parish jail, at 2.06 mills. State law requires the parish to pay for those facilities, so Lafayette Consolidated Government officials would be forced to plug the hole with the parish’s general fund.

Maintaining current funding levels for the courthouse and jail without those property taxes would wipe out most of the $12.2 million general fund, which covers the district attorney’s office, judge salaries and public works. All would inevitably suffer if voters don’t approve the taxes, said Mayor-President Joel Robideaux.

The courthouse would be open fewer hours with fewer services, and some prisoners otherwise ineligible for early release would be let out with ankle monitors, Robideaux said. At the same time, he said, road and bridge repairs would be put on hold, and a severe drainage maintenance backlog that Robideaux estimates at $30 million would worsen.

“You’ll have drainage crews that do work in the parish that won’t be able to exist,” Robideaux said.

Read the full story at The Advocate.

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