Four important property-tax renewals dominate the ballot, along with two sales-tax bonds and a proposition to impose term limits on school board members. And thanks to the wording of each ballot item, The Independent Weekly's endorsements can be encapsulated in one simple mantra: Just Say Yes.
In the case of the tax propositions, there's one important thing to note: each proposal asks for a renewal of existing taxes and doesn't impose any new taxes. So Lafayette voters won't see any difference in their tax bills with the approval of these measures.
Here's the rundown for each ballot item, starting with the five parish-wide issues:
â?¢ Proposition No. 1 is the library tax renewal for 10 years, for maintenance and support of the Public Library of Lafayette Parish and its branches in Broussard, Youngsville, Carencro, Milton, Scott and Lafayette's Time Plaza. Libraries are one of the unifying institutions for any community, and this tax enables Lafayette Parish's libraries to continue purchasing books, supplies and computer equipment, as well as fund essential initiatives like the year-round Children's Reading Program.
â?¢ Proposition No. 2 is the 10-year Public Health Tax Renewal, "for the purpose of the construction, support, maintenance and operation of the public health units in Lafayette Parish." With the current tenuous state of Louisiana health care, this renewal is especially crucial for our residents who have no other health care options besides The Lafayette Parish Public Health Unit, which offers essential services such as immunizations and health care screenings for both adults and children.
â?¢ Proposition No. 3 is for constructing, improving and maintaining roads and bridges in Lafayette Parish. Lafayette's insufferable traffic and history of poor road planning remains one issue ' for better or worse ' that sparks disgust throughout the entire community, and solutions to those problems are desperately needed. This tax will fund a number of much-needed arterial roads on the south and north side of Lafayette, and since state and federal dollars can't be counted on for these projects in this post-hurricane environment, local support is essential.
The fourth proposition, and the one "new" item on the ballot asks if the Lafayette Parish School Board should adopt a resolution limiting school board members to three consecutive four-year terms. The only surprising thing about this proposal is that it's never been previously considered. There's something to be said for retaining good leaders with institutional knowledge, but 12 years is more than enough time for any school board members to make their mark on the system. And considering the Lafayette Parish School System's perennial budget woes, a number of underperforming schools and its constant struggles with class-size issues, it's amazing that current school board members currently have the ability to hold their positions for 16 consecutive years. It's hard to think of any scenario where new blood and fresh leadership wouldn't benefit the school system; in fact, the school board should consider a future referendum limiting school board members to two consecutive four-year terms.
Parish-wide proposition No. 5 calls for a worthy 10-year renewal of funds dedicated to Lafayette Parish's Bayou Vermilion District. These monies provide for continued efforts to reduce pollution in Bayou Vermilion, as well as study and implement increased flood controls. Protecting our local environment should always be a priority, and the increased threat from hurricanes gives the importance of flooding safeguards a renewed urgency.
Finally, Lafayette voters, not parish-wide residents, are being asked to grant two bond issues based on sales taxes that have been on the books since 1961 and 1985. In addition to providing another revenue stream for road and bridge improvements, the funds will also be used for the city's parks and recreation facilities. The declining condition of our parks alone make this renewal another priority ' especially for parents who want safe, vibrant playgrounds for our children.
On July 15, Just Say Yes.
The Louisiana Supreme Court has punted on its first chance to decide whether a new state constitutional provision declaring gun possession a fundamental right could void a long list of criminal statutes that regulate firearms.
New Orleans' offense, which ranks sixth in the NFL, isn't helping many of its skill players pile up Pro Bowl-type stats. Rather, the approach of coach Sean Payton and quarterback Drew Brees has enabled a wide range of play-makers to emerge periodically with high-production outings.
An ordinance phasing out a rebate businesses receive for collecting and remitting sales taxes is tabled, but it doesn’t solve the vexing issue of government revenue.
Here's your daily look at late-breaking national and international news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Thursday, December 12, 2013:
As part of a national undertaking known by industry insiders as the “Butterfly Project,” a rebranded version of The Daily Advertiser is set to launch with Sunday’s edition of the Gannett-owned paper.
Louisiana moved up a slot to 48th in the ranking of healthy states — once again, thank God for Mississippi! — so all this frettin’ about Gov. Bobby Jindal’s refusal to expand Medicaid per Obamacare ... fuggidaboutit! We don’t need Medicaid no more!
The Denham Springs woman who placed Christmas lights in the shape of a butter finger on her roof in a display of anger directed at neighbors has doubled the trouble for the 2013 holiday season.
The 30-second commercial, to run around the state, is the Democratic senator's first TV spot in her bid for re-election to a fourth term.
It's a number that has edged up but falls far short of the thousands who are eligible for subsidized coverage.
A group of mostly higher education leaders will make recommendations to state lawmakers about how to tweak the policies governing tuition rates charged at the state's public colleges.
That would be Congressman John Fleming talking about Sen. David Vitter.
The alleged mastermind behind the bribery scheme that went on for four years under DA Mike Harson’s nose isn’t just schizophrenic, bipolar and recovering from mini strokes; he now says he has cancer.
Louisiana's higher education leaders are trying to work out a financing deal to keep the state's public colleges from running low on state cash to operate their campuses.
With their latest triumph, the Saints left little doubt about how tough they are to beat in the Superdome. Unfortunately, two of their remaining three games are on the road.
For the first time in at least five years, retired teachers, state workers and school system employees could see an increase in their pension checks.
Lawmakers and Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration shared a collective sigh of relief with the news that Louisiana's tax amnesty program brought in the $200 million that they used to help balance this year's budget.
Drew Brees often makes the extraordinary look routine, particularly during night games in the Superdome.
The teams were extended invitations Sunday for the New Year's Day matchup played at Raymond James Stadium, home of the NFL's Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
If all 44 projects are approved, about $300 million would remain in the fund set up as a down payment to help the Gulf.
Last week, the Saints gave up 429 yards to Seattle, second most in a game this season.
Since Anthony Jennings and Brooks Haack were not expected to contribute until next year at the earliest, it seemed like a sneak peek at hidden Christmas gifts.
Louisiana National Guard personnel seeking benefits for same-sex spouses will have an easier time filing the requests, despite a state refusal to let its workers process the paperwork.
Panthers coach Ron Rivera sees one potential flaw with his team's stellar defensive play so far this season. "Apparently we like to bite on the double moves," Rivera said.
Computer hackers may have gained access to the personal information of thousands of Louisiana residents who use debit cards issued by JPMorgan Chase for three state agencies, authorities said Wednesday.
Jim Purcell, who has been in the job since February 2011, notified the Board of Regents about his decision at its monthly meeting.