Specht: It’s time to get out and vote

No one likes taxes, especially me. However, they are a necessary evil, and actually can be quite beneficial if they are levied for the right reasons. Public safety and public infrastructure are definitely valid reasons for taxation.

There are two such tax renewals on the Oct. 14 ballot. Let me be clear, these are not new taxes, but the renewal or continuation of taxes already on the books.

The first property tax continuation, is a road tax for District B, in northern Webster Parish. It’s purpose is building, constructing, maintaining and repairing roads and bridges in the district. Anyone who has hit a pothole, or has come upon a washout, knows the value of this revenue stream.

This proposition failed in December 2016. However, the reasons behind the need for passage remain the same.

“We use this money to help supplement the money we get from the state through our transportation fund, which has been declining,” Police Jury president Jim Bonsall said before the December 2016 election. “That’s why it’s so important these renewals pass. This has been a very stable source of funding to help maintain our roads.”

Good infrastructure is vital to economic development. Transportation throughout the parish needs to be the best it can be, and this renewal will ensure we continue down the right path. Should the measure fail, folks in north Webster will be in quite the pickle, at a time when the need for new economic development is very high.

According to the proposition, the continuation of the 3.92 mills property tax will generate approximately $414,600 annually for the district.

The second proposition is a renewal of a fire prevention tax in Sarepta. The 12 mills property tax renewal is expected to generate $144,844 annually. The revenue will be used for the purpose of acquiring, constructing, improving, maintaining and/or operating fire protection facilities and equipment in the district, including paying the cost of obtaining water for fire protection purposes.

There really isn’t an argument to be made on this tax. Communities must have great fire protection services. The citizens of Sarepta deserve it, they just have to continue to pay for it.

If either of these renewals (or both) are passed, no one’s property taxes will go up as a result. They simply will continue to pay the same rates they paid prior to passage.

Public safety and public roads are no-brainers when it comes to importance. We should continue to foot the bill on these two propositions. So, please vote “yes.”

David Specht is president of Specht Newspapers, Inc. He may be reached via email at dspecht@press-herald.com.

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