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.
Local and state agents Thursday night raided The Keg, the popular college bar located in the area known as The Strip, leading to the (at least) temporary closure of the venue.
Here's your daily look at late-breaking national and international news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Friday, April 18, 2014:
Friday's Blogs from the Bog!
Time and time again, the Lafayette Parish School Board shows an overwhelming tendency toward idiocy, but Wednesday night’s contentious discussion over Northside High School’s teen mother program tops the list of dumb discussions.
“The accomplishment of this goal within the next ten years is not only critical for the region to effectively compete with other regions for residents and businesses, but also to provide an amenity for everyone in Acadiana to enjoy.”
Education Superintendent John White says a continued push to try to keep Louisiana from using tests associated with the Common Core education standards are creating "a state of chaos" for public school teachers.
Gov. Bobby Jindal's plan to use $210 million in surplus and one-time money to help balance next year's budget received the backing Thursday of the State Bond Commission, support that was needed for the maneuver to work.
State wildlife and fisheries agents have arrested a 39-year-old man accused of stealing crawfish.
An East Feliciana Parish lawmaker has jettisoned his proposal to make it harder for a condemned prisoner to appeal a death sentence.
Senators advanced a proposal Wednesday that would let the governor remove New Orleans-area levee board members for violating what he considers to be public policy, despite concerns it would introduce political meddling into state flood protection.
The Lafayette City-Parish Council on Tuesday will vote on a resolution that if approved would clear the way for a December ballot proposition asking voters to approve a 1-cent sales tax parishwide to help fund the construction of a new terminal at Lafayette Regional Airport.
Just days before the fourth anniversary of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster and oil spill, the Coast Guard has moved cleanup of Louisiana's coast to a new phase, allowing BP to end its "active" efforts in the area.
Legislators still must leave their guns at the door of the Louisiana Capitol.
Sen. Fred Mills may have an "R" behind his name, but his actions in the Louisiana Legislature transcend the established boundaries of his party.
The Louisiana House overwhelmingly rejected a repeal of the state's unconstitutional anti-sodomy law Tuesday.
The Louisiana Senate sided with Gov. Bobby Jindal and the oil industry Tuesday, agreeing to void a lawsuit that a south Louisiana flood board filed against more than 90 oil and gas companies for coastal damage.
Acadian rep notifies would-be supporters that an April 25 fundraiser for the embattled U.S. rep won’t go on as planned.
While it isn’t all too unusual for public bodies to have hired security present during meetings, the LPSB’s push to do so is arguably a response to the antics of one board member.
“I’m running. Why would I be raising all this money? Just to have to return it to people?”
With incumbent U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu watching from afar, and with a united Democratic Party in her corner, the fight to get the GOP officially behind Congressman Bill Cassidy is gaining just as much momentum as it is hushed controversy.
15th Judicial District Judge Durwood Conque has announced that he will not seek re-election after 27 years on the bench.
The controversial standardized tests are set to be used in third-grade through eighth-grade public school classrooms next year.
The Louisiana Senate has agreed to prohibit unmanned aircraft from flying over chemical plants, water treatment systems, telecommunications networks and other items considered "critical infrastructure" in Louisiana.
It didn’t take long for KATC TV 3 to jump all over the news of a dead body found in Girard Park, but in its rush to produce headlines, the local TV station got sloppy.
An unholy trinity of civil-society upheavalers whose first names are not Conner, Tanner or Logan are facing charges in Eunice.