Council Retains One-Cent Sales Tax To Help Develop I-10 At Louisiana Avenue
The council voted 6-3 last night to retain the one-cent sales tax that would pay for providing infrastructure such as a frontage road and utility lines for a 42-acre commercial development at the northeast corner of the intersection.
"We're creating greater access to goods and services," Boudreaux said. "We're creating jobs."
Boudreaux, who represents the district in that area, pushed for the council to support the tax that would add a penny to sales taxes in the designated area around the prospective development. The duration the one-cent would be collected could take anywhere from one to three years, if necessary.
Councilmen Jay Castille, Brandon Shelvin, Donald Bertrand, Boudreaux, Keith Patin and Kevin Naquin voted in support of the measure.
"We're forced, locally, to do things in order to have the infrastructure that we need," said councilman Donald Bertrand, in support of the tax."We try to be judicious in the way we do it."
This temporary sales tax rate will remain at 10 percent until Dec. 1, when another one-cent sales tax, dedicated to raise funds for a new terminal at the Lafayette Regional Airport, will expire.
Councilman William Theriot opposed the proposal saying he doesn't support helping out one developer, or landowner, and not helping out the rest. He cited other developments in the parish that came to fruition without the aid of a similar tax proposal.
"We're not in the business of selling people's property," Theriot said. "We're not in the business of providing incentives so someone can develop their property."
He listed another reason he opposes the tax, if approved, would impose a tax on the public that the council adopts without residents' approval.
"It's a tax on people that they don't get to vote on," Theriot said.
Councilmen Andy Naquin and Jared Bellard joined Theriot in his opposition.
Though there were heated points of contention on the subject prior, board members, and some members of the audience, showed elevated emotion after Boudreaux presented a video compilation of comments showing councilmen and citizens speaking for the tax at previous meetings. The video, dating back to 2011, in Boudreaux's words, showed "the hypocrisy that exists in the room (council chamber) and the community."
The three-minute video featured, among others, Lafayette tea Party member Joyce Linde, who Boudreaux was going to have a bailiff usher out had she not walked out of the council chamber herself.
Immediately prior to the council's vote on the proposal, Linde addressed Boudreaux saying that her comments on the video were "taken out of context." The chairman insisted she was out of order when asking that she be removed from the room.