Proposed tax hike for East Baton Rouge roads
BATON ROUGE- The same day East Baton Rouge voters decide their next mayor-president, they'll also vote on a 5-Mill property tax increase for traffic improvements. City-parish leaders call it the Green Light Plan 2, an update of the 11-year-old road work program.
Parish officials estimate 5-Mills is equal to $62 a year for a $200,000 home. The tax hike would last for 30 years.
"I think the average citizen when they're in traffic in the morning and afternoon recognizes there is more work to be done," said Stephen Bonnette, director of the city-parish Department of Transportation and Drainage.
In 2005 voters approved a half-cent increase to the parish sales tax for the original Green Light Plan. Since then dozens of roads have been improved.
But Bonnette says bond money from that increase has dried up and road work has slowed to a crawl.
"For us to fall down to a pace where we can do one project every three years, it's not keeping up with the growth and congestion problems that we're having in the parish," he said.
The proposed tax would pay for around 40 new projects throughout the parish and complete the handful of existing ones. Also the current sales tax would be rededicated for things like sidewalks, street lights and bike lanes.
Voters must approve both the new property tax and the rededicated sales tax. If one measure fails then both fail and voters will have to wait two years for a new tax proposal.