LIVINGSTON PARISH (WAFB) - The funding to maintain roads in Livingston Parish is on the line come Election Day.
On the ballot, voters will have to decide whether to renew a one cent sales tax or let it lapse. The tax was originally approved in 1997 and was renewed in 2006. It funds $14 million dollars in road projects and $5 million for the parish jail.
“There’s roughly 744 miles in this parish, 81 bridges that this one penny, 75% of this one penny maintains, takes care of and gets overlaid and potholes and everything else done, it’s all out of this one penny,” Livingston Parish President Layton Ricks said.
Ricks said the parish does not have the tax base to fund either the jail or road projects should the renewal fail.
“If you think your roads haven’t been done yet, if we don’t have this they’re never going to be done,” Ricks said.
Despite having wide approval in 2006 when it was last renewed, Ricks said he is worried anti-tax sentiment could wreck the renewal.
“I feel combining this fourth of a cent of tax for the jail with the road tax hold you hostage to support the jail if you didn’t support the road or support the roads if you didn’t support the jail,” said James Camp. “You don’t have the option, you either support both of them or you don’t.”
Camp lives and works in Livingston Parish, and he wants the funding separated so voters can approve each individually.
“In a whole lot of ways, I don’t oppose the tax itself, I oppose the way it’s being presented and some of the ways it’s being used,” Camp said.
Ricks said if the measure fails, it will show up during the next election and he said funding for road improvements and the jail will cease to exist until a new tax is passed.
Election Day is Tuesday, November 3.
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