Tax increase for Bayou Blue parks goes to voters - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports

Tax increase for Bayou Blue parks goes to voters

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Bayou Blue, La. - Nature surrounds the Bayou Blue recreation area but in some spots of the 45-acre park, it threatens to take over.

The walking track was condemned five years ago and parts of the property flood during high tides.  Hurricane Isaac damaged some lights on the baseball fields.

"Whenever the insurance people came and inspected, it wasn't covered under insurance because it had termite damage in the poles," says Recreation District President Lloyd Olin. "So then we had to get all the other poles inspected and found out that all the poles have termite damage so the field needs to be condemned until we can replace or remove the lights."

Those are a few reasons why Olin says district needs more money.  It is asking for a 9.9-mil increase on the May ballot.  The average homeowner would see the tax go from around $30 to more than $70 a year.

The $4.2 million generated would pay for improvements to the existing areas and a number of new facilities including restrooms, football fields and a splash park.

"We also wanted to go to the voters so that we could change this recreation," says Olin. "Make it where people can come every Saturday and Sunday and enjoy it with their family."

Critics of the plan say it isn't fair. Many users of the park live outside the area that would pay for the tax increase.

Lafourche Parish Councilman Jerry Lafont voted against the proposal to put the millage increase on the ballot.

"I'm against taxes, I'm against any new taxes, I'm against old taxes and I won't support it," he says.

If the millage increase isn't approved, the recreation district will continue to operate on its current budget of $125,000 a year.

Olin says the money won't go very far.  "It would probably take us, from the estimates we got, about 3 years of saving again, prices of course will go up so probably four years of saving just to fix what we already have," he says.

Voters will have the final say on May 4.

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