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Iberia Parish residents voting on sales tax to repair rural roads

Posted: 6:38 PM, Oct 17, 2018
Updated: 2018-10-17 19:53:55-04

Unincorporated Iberia Parish residents are being asked to vote on a 3/4 cent sales tax to be dedicated to rural roads.

There are mixed feelings both on the government level and with constituents on how the 400 miles of roads will be repaired and maintained.

“Back in 2009, Iberia Parish was collecting roughly $7 million dollars a year from royalty funds. Royalty funds are the funds you collect from oil and gas. As you know right now there’s not a lot of production that’s taking place in Iberia and for the most part in the state of Louisiana,” said Iberia Parish President Larry Richard.

Now, the parish is collecting over $800,000 dollars a year.

Richard personally believes the vote for a 3/4 cent sales on the November 6th ballot will help fix poor road conditions, but noted that he cannot endorse constituents to vote one way or another.

Richard said it’s an option for only rural constituents to consider.

“The city of New Iberia will not be voting on this, the city of Jeanerette will not be voting on this. The town of Declambre will not be voting on this, and the village of Loreauville will not be voting on this. It’s only the unincorporated area of Iberia Parish,” explained Richard.

One councilman, who voted against putting the tax vote on the ballot, says his rural constituents do not want the sales tax.

“I couldn’t educate the public, and I wasn’t educated on it myself. So, I couldn’t support it, simple as that. I’m there to represent my people, and the people who contacted me said they didn’t want it,” said Iberia Parish Councilman Chad Maturin.

If rural voters approve the sales tax, it will generate $3.3 million annually for rural road repairs and maintenance.

To put it into perspective, if a resident spends $100 dollars, they will be taxed 75 cents.

Maturin says rural voters may still not go for the tax.

“They just feel they’re taxed enough. They agree we have road problems, but I think it’s more of putting forward a good effort and showing them we will be fiscally responsible with the money before we get any support from the general public,” said Maturin.