LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY) — Tens of millions of dollars in taxes are up for vote in Lafayette later this year, and Tuesday, the city and parish councils took their first step in bringing the property taxes to a special election.
In the parish, four tax collections for the airport, library, drainage, and public health are up for renewal, rededication, or continuation. In the city, two taxes will or will not be renewed for police and fire department salaries and benefits. They combine for a total of $28M to be collected between 2023 and 2033.
“We’re not creating a new tax. All we’re doing is renewing something that is already being paid,” stressed District 5 Parish Councilman AB Rubin.
Of all six property taxes up on October’s special election ballot, the drainage tax continuation is the largest. The parish estimates to collect $7.9M in taxes for maintaining, operating, and improving drainage from 2023-2033.
With a price tag of almost $4.9M is the public health tax rededication. It would fund public health units, mosquito control, animal control, the coroner, and fire protection for a decade.
A ten-year renewal of the library tax would cost taxpayers an estimated $4M. Several councilmen warned losing this tax would have serious consequences.
“If this millage doesn’t pass the voters, we’re not talking about cutting programming or continuing to expand or not. We’re talking about closing libraries,” District 3 Parish Councilman Josh Carlson warned.
District 4 Parish Councilman John Guilbeau added, “Without this renewal, services could be in jeopardy, and we do not want to do that. We are standing with the parish to make sure we are not closing doors.”
The parish’s final special tax renewal is for improving, maintaining, and operating the airport. It would cost a total of $3.8M over ten years.
The Lafayette City Council joined the parish council in unanimously approving tax votes for the upcoming election. The city is asking voters to renew their police and fire salaries and benefits taxes from 2023-2033. The police tax would add up to an estimated $4.6M. Fire would add up to roughly $3M.
“Once the citizens commit to saying that they want public safety in the city of Lafayette, then it comes with a cost”, Lafayette Fire Chief Robert Benoit explained. “So by them saying, ‘Yes we want public safety,’ then those millages come into play to make sure we provide them the services that they are requesting at that particular time.”
The special election for all six taxes will be on Saturday, October 9. Polls open at 7:00 A.M. and close at 8:00 P.M.
The combined cost of the property tax renewals is $28,272,500. The parish is responsible for $20,560,500 of the total amount. The city is responsible for $7,712,000.