In The News › Two April 9th Tax Proposals Deserve Public Support

Two April 9th Tax Proposals Deserve Public Support

By Danae Columbus

Uptown Messenger

March 17, 2016

Who among us wants to pay additional taxes? Who believes the City needs to improve street lights, sidewalks, curbs and drainage? Who believes firefighters need to keep up their trucks and equipment? Who believes we need better recreational facilities? Who believes we need more police?

The City of New Orleans is placing two bond proposals on the April 9 ballot – one for streets and capital improvements and one for police and fire needs. The city asserts that there will be no increase in the current tax rate need to fund the “relatively modest” streets and capital improvements bond proposition. Many citizens should consider supporting it.

Even the generally tax-averse Bureau of Governmental Research called the streets and capital improvements proposal a “more holistic approach.” Let’s be clear — there will still be a long-term need to find more funding for routine street maintenance sorely needed in many portions of Uptown, Gentilly and Lakeview. BGR says the City should also figure out how to align the life expectancy of specific capital improvements with the duration of the bond repayment period.

Also on the same ballot is a second proposition which would require a tax increase. It will support fire and police, with two-thirds of the funds dedicated to recruiting, hiring, equipping and paying for more police officers. There’s no question that many residents are not safe and that the current police force cannot keep up with New Orleans’ crime.

It’s also not fair that New Orleans firefighters should have to wait decades to get the retirement money the city owes them. We also need more fire fighters to fully staff existing operations. Who would want a fire truck coming to their home or business without a full crew?

As BGR suggested, the administration and the City Council must monitor the use of all these funds to ensure hiring and other goals are met. With elections less than two years away, the voters will be demanding accountability.

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