Parish residents and commission debate millage renewal - KSLA News 12 Shreveport, Louisiana News Weather & Sports

Parish residents and commission debate millage renewal

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CADDO PARISH, LA (KSLA) -

Some Caddo Parish residents are calling for more action from the parish commissioner's office after a property tax millage was voted down last year and is now being brought back for another vote this week.   

It all started in 2007 when parish residents voted for a 1.95 millage debt service property tax millage.

In 2010, the millage was lowered to 1.75.  On October 19 of last year, voters voted against continuation of the millage. Coming up Saturday, May 3, residents will vote on whether to continue 1.75 millage once again.

To give you a sense of what this means to the average taxpayer, the Caddo Parish commissioner's office says the 1.75 millage equals to about $6.00 per year for a property worth around $200,000.  However, some residents say they've already spoken, while Caddo Parish officials say that money is very much needed.

Caddo Parish resident Donald Williams says, "If it's been voted down once that means that the majority is in disapproval of it."

He adds, "I feel like it's high enough already and I don't feel like they've done enough with the money they've already received."

Rob Brown owns a home on Cross Lake. "We pay some of the highest property taxes in the state."

But Brown also agrees there are two sides to the issue.  "I think that our commissioners and commission do a good job and are good stewards of our money but you start to say when is enough enough."

Caddo Parish Administrator Dr. Woody Wilson, says although the millage was voted down last year, the commission has gotten feedback from residents who now understood how important it actually is.  "Most of the parish residents that we've explained the fact to, they get it."

 "This money will be used to take care of future requirements in area of capital needs," Wilson adds.

Those needs, Wilson says, includes maintaining 22 parish facilities, 900 square miles of parish streets and 178 parish bridges. 

Meanwhile, Brown questions the need for the renewal because of the 160 million dollars the parish has in its reserve accounts.  "That seems like a pretty adequate amount of money to have in surplus," says Brown.

While Dr. Wilson agrees that money exists he says, "75% of it is restricted. We have to use the money the way the voters said it could be used when it first appeared in the proposition that it was voted on so we can't move money between accounts." 

Again the vote for the debt service property tax renewal will be on Saturday, May 3rd.  Dr. Wilson added that an approval would also maintain the parish's high bond rating and help bring more businesses to the area.

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