HOUMA, La. (AP) — Terrebonne Parish residents have given a measure of support at a public hearing in Houma to a 1/2-cent sales tax voters may be asked to approve this winter to help pay for $180 million in new levee protection.

The Terrebonne Levee District said the sales tax is necessary to finish building an interim version of the Morganza-to-the-Gulf levee system to protect residents of Terrebonne and Lafourche from storm flooding. Without a local source of money, Morganza could go unfinished for as long as a decade.

Levee Board President Tony Alford tells The Courier a federally financed Morganza is unlikely to happen because the price of the U.S. Army Corps-designed levee has climbed to $10 billion.

Residents who spoke at Monday's meeting said that while they aren't in favor of raising taxes, they know levee protection is essential to continue living in Terrebonne Parish.