LIVINGSTON – Livingston Parish Council member Jeff Ard expressed disappointment and even a sense of shock over the resounding defeat of two tax proposals to fund Gravity Drainage District 6.
Ard, in an interview Monday, said the vote deals a setback to residents in the district who battled through the worst flood in recent memory just one year earlier.
“We have people in this area who are hurting left and right,” he said. “But other people figure that since it’s not flooding in their yard, they don’t care.
“That’s the vibe I’ve gotten from people as I’ve asked about it – just as simple as that,” Ard said. “If it doesn’t affect them, they don't want it.”
Sixty-two percent of the voters in the district opposed the property tax and 61 percent voted “no” to the half-cent sales tax.
Much of the opposition came from the same residents who lodged complaints about substandard drainage during flood events in March and August 2016.
As long as the district goes unfunded, residents will have only a scant opportunity to get drainage improvements, Ard said.
“The parish is jumping all over these two districts trying to find whatever little money they can to do this for the people in that area, and those people get put last on the list,” he said. “This was the opportunity to make things work – but it didn’t work.”
Ard doubts he will push another tax proposal for the district.
He said he would only bring it back on a crowded ballot.
“People say we throw things on little elections, but this was a little election with only thirteen present of the parish saying what they think,” Ard said. “I don’t know if it would hurt or help to put it on a big election, but I’m not hiding it from people.”