Parish voters pass road

Published 12:00 am Monday, October 17, 2005

tax 827-767


The Natchez Democrat

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VIDALIA, La. &8212; Concordia Parish voters passed a sales tax increase Saturday by a count of 827-767.

The vote means the parish sales tax will rise 1.5 percent to 8.75 percent, the same as in Vidalia and Ferriday, who were not eligible to vote in the election.

Ninty-five percent of revenues created by the increase &8212; estimated at $950,000 a year &8212; will fund a two-year project to resurface 82 parish roads.

The rest will be split between the Concordia Council on Aging and the Louisiana Cooperative Extension Program.

&8220;We&8217;re very pleased. This (tax increase) is for very needed repairs,&8221; Concordia Parish Police jury President Melvin Ferrington said. &8220;If this hadn&8217;t passed, some of the old blacktop roads would have had to be torn up and turned into gravel roads. That&8217;s going backwards.&8221;

The single-issue election drew 1,594 voters, 21 percent of the 7,574 eligible to vote. Both Ferrington and Clerk of Courts Clyde Ray Webber said they hadn&8217;t expected even that many to turn up.

&8220;I was pleasantly surprised by the turnout, it was twice what I thought it would be,&8221; Webber said. &8220;It&8217;s still not high enough, but it&8217;s a pretty good turnout.&8221;

Clayton and Wildsville led the &8216;yea&8217; charge, voting a combined 151-56 in favor. Ridgecrest was the biggest nay-sayer, voting 172-99 against the increase.

Clayton and Ridgecrest are scheduled to receive between 7 and 8 percent of the increase&8217;s revenues for road repair and municipal improvements.

&8220;They (Ridgecrest) voted against, but they&8217;ll still get,&8221; Ferrington said.

Of the 20 precincts reporting, the proposal carried nine.

Results are unofficial until the clerk of court verifies results starting at 10 a.m. Tuesday at the voting machine warehouse behind Wal-Mart in Ferriday. That process is open to the public.