If the Road District B tax for the north end of Webster Parish does not pass at the Oct. 14 election, then within a year, there won’t be any funding for road repair.
Webster Parish Police Jury Secretary Treasurer Ronda Carnahan told jurors during the road committee meeting Tuesday the fund has money in it but it would be used quickly, and the year following, there will be nothing.
To date, about $386,000 has been collected for Road District B. Road District A has collected about $364,000. Road District B collects 4.18 mills and Road District A collects 2.7 mills.
Both funds collect taxes to fund road repairs and overlay projects for the areas that each covers – Road District B covers the north end of Webster Parish and Road District A covers the south end.
In each of these districts, road priority lists are made based on the condition of the road and the traffic volume, and the money is spent according to these priority lists.
A few months ago, the jury voted to allot up to $600 per municipality per year to help with engineering services, mainly to help the smaller municipalities get engineering services to create road priority lists.
“We can have a parish priority road list, and you can have a town priority list, but you have to create them,” Parish Attorney Patrick Jackson said. “The money just has to be spent on the priority system. The rules have been set aside to say, ‘we expect you to spend it all in the priority system.’ It removes the politics from the process…but every dollar would have to be appropriated by this body.”
Juror Daniel Thomas suggested taking the difference between what is collected by each district fund and reserve it for allocation to the municipalities should they need it. Jury President Jim Bonsall said while he’s not against the north end or the south end, he is not for allotting money in this manner for municipalities.
“If there is a need in a municipality, then certainly we want to help,” Bonsall said. “I’m not against spending the money, I’m just saying I’m against allotting it like that every year.”
A motion was made to use the difference in Road District B, but it failed by a vote of 4-7, with one abstaining.
The tax failed in December 2016.