School Board considering 5 to 15 mill property tax for facilities
The Lafayette Parish School System is weighing options on seeking anywhere from a new 5 to 15 mill property tax to address its aging school facilities. Last night, CSRS Inc. presented its final findings after a year-long review process of parish facilities, in which it recommended the board adopt a 10-year $1.1 billion plan to construct or replace 13 schools, and renovate about a dozen others. The plan is broken into two phases. Phase one is estimated to cost $592 million to build or replace eight schools - including Northside and Lafayette High and a new career and technical high school - and renovate five others over five years. The school board will vote on whether to accept the plan, which does not obligate to any action, in two weeks.
I have a lot of confidence that the [plan] reflects what the community wants to see," school board member Mike Hefner says. "I think all of us were a little taken aback by the projected costs." He noted that $1 billion equates to about three years' worth of the school board's general budget. Generating the the almost $600 million needed for phase 1 in five years would likely require passing a 15 mill property tax. Generally speaking, a 1 mill property tax can generate approximately $10 million a year. However, Hefner added that there are several options involved, including staggering issuance of the bonds or extending the time period for which they are issued. Another option could involve using some sales tax revenue, scheduled to be freed up in a couple of years, to fund a portion of the projects.
The plan, as written, recommends projects begin to get underway Jan. 1, 2011. The next three election dates the school board could place a proposed tax on the ballot are October, November and April, 2011. The board would need to submit a ballot proposition approximately two months in advance of the election. Most observers see an October date, which would coincide with school board elections, as unlikely and that November may also be too aggressive a timeline.
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SEP 2 North Carolina's film tax incentive is about to expire, and Louisiana is getting the first benefit, this story on the Wilmington NC newspaper's website tells us. 'Banshee,' a Cinemax series from the same guy who created 'True Blood,' is moving production to New Orleans, the story says.
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AUG 29 Everyone who cares about Louisiana should take time to peruse this story about coastal loss from Bob Marshall of The Lens. It's not enough to call it a story; it's an interactive experience packed with data and amazing graphics, timelines, history, photos and excellent writing. Set aside some time, because you can't go through this one in a few minutes.
AUG 29 Huffington Post has a blog called Love Letters, which is grandly described as "an anthology of reflections on places the world over." This entry is from LSU Football Coach Les Miles, who, it appears, loves Baton Rouge. (Of course he does; he's a rich straight white man.) And certainly Baton Rouge loves him - unless he loses (ask Curley "Golden Flake" Hallman about that) or leaves (ask Nick Saban).
AUG 29 This story by WVLA tells us about a guy who got busted for speeding in Baton Rouge. Who cares? This guy took that infraction to new heights by going 129 miles per hour on Nicholson Drive. Poor fella - he probably has spent so much time sitting in Baton Rouge traffic he just had to cut lose.
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