Viewpoint: April 18, 2012

Residents within the city limits of Baton Rouge, Baker and Zachary have an important decision to make this Saturday. A special election is being held on a proposed 10.6-mill property tax that would pump as much as $18 million a year into a beleaguered CATS public transit system.

Supporters say increased funding will reduce the average wait time in peak hours from 75 to 15 minutes and increase service by nearly doubling the number of routes. They also argue Baton Rouge appears to have the lowest per capita funding on transit in any city the country.

Opponents argue residents with homes valued between $50,000 and $75,000, could see their property taxes increase by as much as 79 percent. They also feel it's unfair the tax won't apply to businesses outside of the city limits that would likely benefit from CATS improvements. And, they say there's not enough accountability in Saturday's proposal.

But, one thing both sides seem to agree on is that CATS needs an overhaul of some type. It's up to voters to decide whether Saturday's proposal is the best way to achieve the desired end result.

If you are in one of the three cities impacted, study the pros and cons to become better informed and most importantly, let your voice be heard in the voting booth on Saturday.