Residents, state senator butting heads over neighborhood improvements
BATON ROUGE - Some residents claim a state senator is blocking improvements to their neighborhood for personal reasons. But he says the residents want to use tax dollars to fix privately owned streets.
Just east of the Baton Rouge city limits, Cypress Point is a quiet, well kept neighborhood of about 120 homes. But its streets are crumbling apart.
HOA board member Grant Herrin says the streets haven't been repaired since the neighborhood was built.
"There's a lot of areas where the streets are sinking in, and that's because the water is running in and washing out the dirt underneath, so the streets are actually collapsing down," Herrin told WBRZ.
For the last three years, the homeowners association has asked state lawmakers to create an improvement district to collect taxes and fix the roads. The proposal would cost each homeowner about $300 a year.
"We would like to have this parcel fee, spread that out over twenty to thirty years, and have a loan taken against that fee so homeowners won't have such a high burden," Herrin said.
Every time the improvement district takes it to the senate committee that oversees local municipalities, it's rejected. The residents say that's because of State Senator Dan Claitor.
The association claims Sen. Claitor has a legislative aide who lives in Cypress Point who doesn't want the tax, but the senator tells WBRZ that's not why he is against the taxing district.
"You can't use those tax dollars to pay to work on private property. It doesn't work like that," Sen. Claitor said.
The senator added that if the homeowners want to fix the private streets, they should just raise their association fee.
Homeowners in Cypress Point want to have the improvement district reintroduced before the legislature adjourned this session, but it doesn't appear that will happen.