NEW ROADS, LA (WAFB) - For almost 40 years, people in New Roads have paid a tax that the parish police jury now wants to double. The tax involves road improvements. The only thing is, does the town have its own road program?
"It's unfair and it's an economic deterrent," said New Roads Mayor Robert Myers.
Myers is standing up for the people he represents, saying residents in New Roads could be getting taxed a millage tax they don't even know about.
"The parish is trying to enact an additional property tax on the citizens of New Roads. It is not constitutional," said Mayor Myers.
Currently, people in New Roads are taxed 1.71 mills. For your reference, let's just say your home is worth $100,000. At that rate, you're paying $171 in taxes. Now, the Pointe Coupee Police Jury wants to double that meaning twice the amount in taxes.
Jurors are saying they can do so because they're protected by the constitution with two specific factors.
"If a municipality has more than 1,000 people and they do have a road program, then the police jury cannot impose the full millage. They can only impose a half," said police juror Justin Cox.
New Roads has more than 1,000 people, but the road program is the issue. The mayor claims the city does have their own street program, separate from the parish, which should exempt them from raising taxes. Mayor Myers said Memorial Blvd., which is set to open next week, is a prime example because the city paid much of the bill.
Jury President Melanie Bueche refused to go on camera but told 9News through email, "Any new development in our parish that involves road construction, must meet our standards. After the parish is satisfied with the construction; the road is turned over to the parish for upkeep." Bueche said ultimately the parish has the program, not the city, which is why they can legally double the millage tax.
The mayor's now worried that the city's economic development could take a hit.
"Businesses are saying, 'Hey, I want to go into this town and operate here because this is my cost,' and then now they're going to have a whole different set of costs because there's a whole new tax they didn't know about," said Mayor Myers.
The mayor said he's planning to go before a judge and ask for an injunction to avoid doubling the tax. Now if this tax is approved, the money will go into the police jury's general fund.