Saturday Iberia Parish residents will vote on a 26 mile levee system around the parish. Voters will decide on a five mill tax and a half cent sales tax to generate seven million dollars to bond with 120 million dollars over the next 30 years for the new levee system. According to the chairman of the Iberia Parish levee district, years of erosion and development along the wetlands that border Iberia Parish have increased the threat of destruction that hurricanes can cause. The levee system is projected to cost 420 million dollars. The polls open at 7:00 AM and will close at 8:00 PM.
New Iberia Levee Vote
A 26-mile levee system around Iberia parish could become a reality but not without the help from area residents. This proposed project is said to be the quickest fix to a pressing matter. According to Ronald Gonsoulin, chairman of the Iberia Parish Levee District, marsh land sitting between Iberia parish and the Gulf is measured in feet rather than in miles, exposing the parish to massive flooding caused by hurricanes.
Gonsoulin says the best fix would be to re-plant the marsh area, building it back up but that wouldn't be done in time, if it could even be done. That's why the next best protection would be the levee system. It would be six to seven hundred feet in width, 26-miles long and 20 feet above sea level with a 100 year life span. But as with anything that size it comes with a hefty price tag at $420 Million.
Gonsoulin is proposing a 5-mill property tax increase as well as a half-cent sales tax increase for Iberia Parish Residents. Those increases are said to generate about $7 million dollars annually, and will be used to obtain a $150 million dollar bond, which would make Iberia Parish eligible to receive matching state and federal funds necessary to complete the levee project. Iberia Parish residents will have both the 5-mill property tax increase and the 1/2 cent sales tax increase proposals on the April 6th ballot. If approved the project could start right away and be completed within seven years.
A package of two tax proposals is up for a vote in Iberia Parish on April 6 to help pay for a 26-mile levee to hold back hurricane storm surges. On the ballot are a 5-mill property tax and a half-cent sales tax, which together would generate about $7 million a year to help pay for a levee project estimated at $420 million. Ronald Gonsoulin, chairman of the parish's Levee, Hurricane and Conservation District, said several coastal restoration projects have been considered to rebuild the wetlands that can sap the strength of hurricanes, but those projects could be years in the making and protection is needed now. He said the proposed levee project is the "quickest fix to protect the residents and economic value along the coast."
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