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.
Black Friday shopping begins; Pope visiting Turkey; oil prices decline and more national and international news for Friday, November 28, 2014.
Friday's Blogs from the Bog!
The fight to clean up Lafayette Parish could get some added ammunition with two ordinances up for votes Tuesday by the City-Parish Council targeting litter-bugs.
By striking a deal to lessen the blow of health insurance changes on state workers, school employees and retirees, Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration lowered the volume of criticism but gave itself and local school boards a new budget headache.
With the airport tax coming up for a parishwide vote in about a week, the Broussard City Council and its mayor have come out in support of the proposal.
Protesters rallied peacefully in several Louisiana cities in the wake of the Missouri grand jury decision not to indict a police officer in the fatal shooting of Michal Brown.
The U.S. rep billed LSU for work allegedly performed on the same days Congress voted on major legislation and held important committee hearings on energy and the ACA.
Abysmally low participation by the public has prompted the council to scuttle the 2014 survey with plans to simplify it and try again next year.
The village now says the ordinance will likely be overturned and authorities will more vigorously enforce existing leash laws.
Bill Cassidy cast an early ballot Tuesday, seeking to draw renewed attention to a race that has fallen off newspaper front pages and away from people's minds as they plan holiday meals and shopping schedules.
Battered all night by Baltimore's relentless pass rush, Drew Brees could feel his protection collapsing and Terrell Suggs getting ahold of him as he urgently unloaded a pass to the right flat toward tight end Jimmy Graham.
After a convincing defeat at the polls on Nov. 4, Earl “Nickey” Picard has decided to let bygones be bygones with his former right-hand man Brian Pope, announcing his support for his former employee’s runoff bid to become Lafayette’s next city marshal.
Saturday the athletic department did everything possible to ensure the 2014 Ragin’ Cajun seniors remembered fondly their last home game. Rain and lightning never arrived but turbulence did in the form of the Appalachian State Mountaineers.
Even stranger than the Republican Party’s decision to hold a “unity rally” earlier this month for Congressman Bill Cassidy in a Baton Rouge bar, Huey’s Bar, was the fact that the establishment was named after Louisiana’s most famous Democrat.
Bar Code is not a gay bar.
After failing to pass a medical marijuana bill last year, state Sen. Fred Mills, R-Parks, is telling supporters he will return in 2015 with legislation that focuses on different applications like oils and pills.
Voters, obviously, are not yet tuned into the 2015 ballot, despite the intriguing races it will host.
By now, the story of how longtime LSU coach Dale Brown discovered Shaquille O'Neal has been told many times: Brown happened upon a massive 13-year-old at an army base in Germany, stayed in touch with him and eventually became like a second father.
Fate simply wasn't ready to give the New Orleans Saints a break from longtime nemesis Steve Smith.
Lafayette Police have had a busy day.
Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration will use $130 million in patchwork financing from a tax amnesty program, insurance settlement, uninsured motorist penalties and other excess funds to close most of the state's midyear budget deficit.
Democratic U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu said she disagrees with President Barack Obama's actions on immigration, hoping the latest controversy doesn't worsen her campaign difficulties.
Gay-rights advocates challenging Louisiana's same-sex marriage ban announced Thursday that they have asked the U.S. Supreme Court to review their case before it is heard by a federal appeals court.
Thinking himself the “son of God,” the man charged with the 2013 killing of an officer of the Chitimacha Tribal Police will not stand trial following a ruling Thursday on his mental competency.
Either Saints coach Sean Payton doesn't want to tip Baltimore off as to who'll start in New Orleans' secondary on Monday night, or he really doesn't know yet.