BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - East Baton Rouge Parish residents will get a chance to vote on a proposed property tax that would almost double the budget for the parish's Council on Aging (EBRCOA).
At Wednesday night's meeting, the East Baton Rouge Metro Council voted on a resolution that places the proposed tax on the November ballot along with the presidential and mayoral election. The decision was met with cheers and applause from the crowd.
Tasha Clark Amar, the director of EBRCOA, said the new tax would allow them to expand some of their more life-saving services like the Meals on Wheels program.
"If the people decide this is a worthy cause, we'll be happy and if they decide otherwise we'll come up with something else, but all we're doing is asking to have an opportunity like the other 30 parishes that have councils on aging in our state," she said.
Even officials at the Council on Aging admit this isn't the best time to ask for voters to approve a new tax, especially when state taxes have already gone up in an effort to plug the state's budget hole.
Only one person spoke against the tax proposal. Dwight Hudson with the fiscal watchdog group Tax Busters said the parish is headed down a slippery slope.
"I worry that as we continue in this parish on the trend of adding more and more dedicated taxes that we limit our abilities to set our priorities in the future," Hudson said.
The tax would cost a homeowner with a house worth $150,00 an extra $16.88 a year. The tax on a $200,0000 home would be an additional $28.13.
Senior Rosetta Adams said the council means the world to her and her neighbors.
"Some of the seniors around my house that are not able to come out, they get meals on wheels and I see some of the employees bringing meals to them," she said. "It's just a wonderful thing that's going on here in Baton Rouge, it really is."
Councilmen Buddy Amoroso, Scott Wilson and Joel Boe voted against putting the tax on the November ballot.