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.
Authorities are investigating a report that a student there warned the principal of impending violence similar to that depicted in the movie "The Purge."
Saints cornerback Champ Bailey has played for more than a handful of playoff teams during a career that has seen him selected to 12 Pro Bowls.
Police say a 56-year-old Lafayette man walking behind a dump truck died when the truck hit him as it was backing up.
Wednesday's Blogs from the Bog!
Fifa under fire for fake turf plans; freed journalist back home; corporate conversions rising and more national and international news for Wednesday, August 27, 2014.
New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees is a proud papa of new baby girl.
The books on Louisiana's last budget year have been closed, but it took a bit of borrowing from this year to make the numbers work.
The Iberia Parish Coroner responded Monday to the attention surrounding the questionable shooting of Victor White III, a black man from New Iberia who died April 2 while in the custody of local law enforcement.
Two months after lawmakers agreed to create a $40 million higher education incentive fund, no decisions have been made about how to divide the money.
With Drew Brees back healthy, the New Orleans Saints are free to work on the little things that can make the difference between a Super Bowl run and something less.
Incumbent U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu and her lead GOP challenger Congressman Bill Cassidy are running close when it comes to money. Landrieu has $5.5 million to Cassidy’s $5.6 million in the bank.
With expectations mounting that Gov. Bobby Jindal will soon announce his campaign for president, attention is turning to not only who he will bring along with him but also what will transpire politically back home during the transition.
Seven of the 11 U.S. cities in a new ranking of “most dangerous diets” are in the Bayou and Lone Star states, but the ranking is more about poverty than fried oysters.
Lafayette police are investigating a fatal shooting involving an alleged burglar and homeowner.
Saints tight end Jimmy Graham got the message from the NFL. He's not dunking footballs over goal posts any more.
With qualifying over, the start of campaign season is official, and for the Lafayette Parish School Board, the race toward Nov. 4 will pit 20 candidates in battles for all 9 of the district’s available seats.
An abortion rights organization has filed the first court challenge to a Louisiana law that would require doctors who perform abortions to be able to admit patients to a nearby hospital.
U.S. Rep. Vance McAllister started his sign-up for re-election Friday the same as any other candidate, filling out paperwork and handing over cash to pay his qualifying fee. But he finished it quite differently, doused with ice.
The recent release of Victor White III’s autopsy report could spell trouble, as it tells a much different story of his death than the one told five months ago by the Iberia Parish Sheriff’s Office.
“Candidates for Congress and members of Congress spend between 30 and 70 percent of their time raising money to get back to Congress or to get their party back into power.”
Over the last four days of the trial against attorney Daniel Stanford, there’s been one notable absence from Judge Elizabeth Foote’s courtroom: attorney Bill Goode.
Saints quarterback Drew Brees and wide receiver Nick Toon are not on the same page yet, and time is running short for Toon to get it right.
U.S. Rep. Vance McAllister started his sign-up for re-election the same as other candidates, filling out paperwork and handing over qualifying money. But he finished it like no other, doused with ice.
That’s what Lafayette Parish has obtained in Pentagon surplus since 2006.
Qualifying continues through Friday.