Funding for roads issue in Livingston Parish - KSLA News 12 Shreveport, Louisiana News Weather & Sports

Road tax renewal runs into opposition

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LIVINGSTON PARISH, LA (WAFB) -

A tax to renew road maintenance in Livingston Parish has the parish president and some citizens at a crossroads. One side says the tax is a guise to fund employee healthcare, but Parish President Layton Ricks says the money isn't going anywhere it's not supposed to.

On Southpoint Drive in Denham Springs, patches are now where potholes used to be. But Ricks says if voters do not support renewing an almost $2 million road maintenance tax, the bumpy roads in the parish will never be smooth.

"It goes to fix our roads. We have to be able to do that," Ricks said.

But, there are some in the parish who are not in favor, saying the administration will use the road money to instead help fund 100 percent of employee healthcare.

Scott Jones has been fighting with the parish for years over how the road money has been spent.

"We have to say we oppose the tax because you're taking 1.8 million that this tax generates, putting it in a pot and that's going to pay salaries, insurance premiums that are skyrocketing every year," Jones said.

Ricks says Jones is incorrect. He says while Livingston Parish does have two road taxes and the money from one has gone to insurance premiums, voters are being asked to renew the tax that only goes for road maintenance.

"Not one dime of health insurance for employees comes out of this maintenance millage," Ricks said.

Jones does not buy it and says he still believes all the money should go to road upkeep.

"Could shave off a half-million in insurance premiums, put that back in road fund. You could do some major parish roads that need it," he said.

Ricks does admit, however, that some residents do have a problem with the parish paying 100 percent of employee health benefits. But for now, he says he's trying to address the number one problem in the parish, which is the roads.

For the other side, it simply says make sure the public's money is used appropriately.

The renewal of the road maintenance tax will be on the November ballot.

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