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Wednesday, April 17, 2019

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Levee district clarifies where tax money will go

Levee district clarifies where tax money will go

The North Lafourche Levee District (NLLD) Board of Commissioners approved a measure recently toplace a quarter-cent sales tax dedicated to building critical levees and other priority flood protection projects on the May 2, 2015 ballot.

The District also passed a resolution recently saying money from the proposed sales tax will not be used for salaries, legal judgments or new buildings.

The sales tax is estimated to generate approximately $2.2 million per year for the District, which would be solely dedicated to construction of priority levee and flood protection projects in the District, from the northern end of the parish to the Intracoastal Waterway in Larose.

The proposed sales tax revenue would also be leveraged to attract more state and federal money for the local levee projects. The District’s only current funding source is an ad valorem tax that provides approximately $3.5 million per year.

The district, which serves about 65,000 residents north of the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway, has identified $250 million worth of projects that would be cost-effective.

The work includes improving pump stations, levees and drainage canals from Gheens to Larose to Lockport.

The resolution, which the board approved last week, says proceeds from the tax will not:
- Increase the size of the district’s administrative staff or increase the current staff’s salaries.
- Pay for legal judgments against the district.
- Acquire or improve the district’s facilities.

Voters in the district rejected the board’s last request for a new sales tax in 2012. The proposed one-cent sales tax, which would have raised about $8 million a year, was defeated with 54 percent of voters against to 46 percent in favor. About 14 percent of the district’s voters cast ballots.