Caddo voters seem to ask 'What's the rush?' on renewals

Caddo voters seem to ask 'What's the rush?' on renewals

CADDO PARISH, LA (KSLA) - The time frame and the appearance of money in the bank.

Those are two possible factors cited a day after Caddo voters rejected four tax renewals and a tax rededication Saturday.

"The people have spoken, and we've got to do a better job, more efficiently and effective job on spending our money," 
Doug Dominick, vice president of the Caddo Commission, said Sunday.

Of the four renewals that failed, two were by the narrowest of margins.

Revenue generated by the four taxes fund parish parks and recreation facilities, public health facilities, juvenile court and detention and the Caddo Courthouse.

"I think it was a message to the commission that we have got to clearly look at the way we operate," Dominick said of the rejections.

Caddo Commission President Steven Jackson agrees and said he understands there's some overall voter frustration with how tax dollars are being spent.

"And as an elected official, we also have an obligation to go back out, listen to what the constituents are saying and see how we can make those arrangements for them."

Louis R. Avallone, who chairs the Caddo Republican Party, appears to agree with their assessments.

"And I think the voters just basically said, 'Hey, we understand that you're delivering quality services. But we want to know how prudently you are spending our tax dollars'."

All sides also seem to agree on at least other factor in the tax measures' failure.

None of the taxes expire anytime soon. Of the four renewals, the soonest runs out 2019 and others not until 2022.

So voters felt no sense of immediacy and have time to do it right, observers said.

The rationale for putting all the renewals up for a vote at the same time now was to save money because elections do not come cheap, Dominick said.

Even so, voters appeared to ask "What's the rush?"

Avallone and others also pointed to $120 million just sitting in the Caddo Commission bank accounts as another reason for voters to not quickly renew taxes.

Dominick said a lot of that money already is earmarked for specific uses.

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