Revenue to benefit public safety, schools
LAFAYETTE — Two Lafayette municipal property taxes that support public safety are up for renewal at the Nov. 6 election along with parishwide taxes for drainage work, the school system, the parish library system and the Lafayette Regional Airport.
Early voting begins Oct. 23.
City of Lafayette voters will decide whether to renew a 10-year, 3-mill property tax that generates about $3.7 million for police salaries and a 10-year, 2-mill property tax that generates about $2.4 million for firefighter salaries.
Voters approved both taxes by wide margins in 2002 as part of a plan to improve pay in the police and fire departments.
The combined $6.1 million generated by the two taxes is less than a quarter of the $27.2 million budgeted next year for fire and police salaries, not including benefits, according to figures from the city-parish Finance Department.
“To say that it is woefully underfunded by the millage is as dramatic an understatement as it gets in relation to public safety,” Lafayette City-Parish Chief Administrative Officer Dee Stanley said.
The administration and the City-Parish Council earlier this year discussed the possible need for a new public safety tax proposal, but no formal action has been taken.
Stanley has said the loss of either the police or fire millage would be “devastating” to public safety funding.
Voters parishwide will decide whether to renew a 10-year, 2-mill library tax first approved in 2002 to help fund the construction and operation of regional libraries throughout the parish and the renovation of the main library in downtown Lafayette.
Since that tax passed 10 years ago, the library system has opened the North Regional branch in Carencro in 2007 and the South Regional branch on Johnston Street in south Lafayette in 2009, Library Director Sona Dombourian said.
Extensive renovations at the main library downtown are ongoing and are expected to be finished by 2014, she said.
The library system is also planning an East Regional branch in the Youngsville/Broussard area and a West Regional branch in the Scott/Duson area.
The millage up for renewal Nov. 6 would be used to continue the regional expansion and to pay for operations at the branch libraries, Dombourian said.
She said the 2-mill tax accounts for about 30 percent of the library system’s operating budget.
The tax brings in about $3.3 million a year.
Voters parishwide will also decide whether to renew a 10-year, 3.34-mill property tax that generates about $5.5 million for city-parish drainage projects.
The tax is the primary funding source for drainage and flood-control work in the parish.
Also on the Nov. 6 ballot is the renewal of a 10-year, 1.71-mill tax to fund operations, maintenance and improvements at Lafayette Regional Airport.
The tax, which generates about $2.8 million a year, was first passed in 1972 and has been renewed three times.
The parish school system will ask voters parishwide to renew a 10-year, 16.7-mill tax for operations and maintenance.
The tax generates about $27.5 million a year.