Lafayette Parish voters will decide whether to shift taxes from Culture, Arts, AND Tourism, or CREATE, to funding parish-wide fire services, roads, and bridges.
Parish council members approved a resolution during a joint council in April to place the shift on the November ballot.
"It's unfathomable that these assaults keep happening and not only that but the premise of how you are taking that money is also flawed."
Cultural advocate Kate Durio helped charter CREATE during the Joel Robideaux administration.
In January, when Mayor-President Josh Guillory took office, he eliminated those overseeing the CREATE program, which is designed to rededicate parish property mills to generate revenue. Since it began in 2017, it’s generated roughly $563,000.
If voters say yes, 70% of that money will go to parish-wide fire protection, while the other 30% will go to roads and bridges.
"If you live in any of the cities you were paying city taxes and you're paying parish taxes. It's a lose-lose for anybody in that city, because you're paying these higher taxes and you are subsidizing this lifestyle in the unincorporated areas and you're also losing these culture and recreational assets,” Durio added.
Two years ago, voters in the parish voted against a fire millage for the unincorporated area which would have taxed only those unincorporated areas. Lafayette Mayor-President Josh Guillory believes voters will be in favor of the reallocation.
"A yes vote would lessen the strain on each of our municipalities, the city of Lafayette and all of our other five municipalities outside of Lafayette in the parish. Also I think we can all drive around the parish and say we can always do a better job with our roads, so this additional funding would help with that too,” said Guillory.
Guillory says the re-dedication item on the ballot is a single issue, which he believes is an easy choice for voters.
"We've all seen examples in the past where there's been all these issues, like a gumbo pot all on one bill, all on one ordinance, or one re-dedication measure. This is an up or down vote,” Guillory added.
"We are not going to get anywhere if we keep nickel-and-diming everything. We have to be really smart, we have to be really wise and informed on how we make these investments,” said Durio.
Guillory says if voters decide to keep funding in CREATE, he'll respect the will of the people.
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