School board says no to tax increase

The Vermilion Parish School Board voted not to raise the millage of an ad valorem tax.

Every four years, because the assessor’s office re-assess property values, the school board is allowed to adjust a Constitutional Millage.

The School Board looked into raising the Constitutional Millage from 4.51 mills to 4.60 mills. The .9 would have brought in an extra $21,000. The money collected from the millage would have gone to the School Board’s general fund budget.

By taxing property owners more, the state would have also given the school board more money because of the state’s Minimum Foundation Program (MFP) formula.

At last week’s meeting, the school board voted 6-1 against the millage increase.

School Board members Ricky Broussard, Charles Campbell, Anthony Fontana, Ricky LeBouef , Chris Mayard and Bill Searle voted against raising the tax.

School board member Dexter Callahan was absent from the meeting.

Angela Faulk is the only member to vote for the increase. She said it would cost landowners around $1 more per year and it would also bring in more money to the school board.

The more money the school board collects from taxes, the more money the state contributes to the school board because of the MFP formula.

But not all of the school board members wanted to put the burden on landowners.

Board member Bill Searle disagreed with Faulk.

“Since 1993 until now, the assessment has gone up every year,” Searle said. “We asked the public to vote for a 10 mill and 25 mill tax and we got it when it passed by 75 to 80 percent. Now we are going to sit here and ask the tax payers for $21,000. Why not just give them that and tell them thank you for supporting us like they did.”

Board member Anthony Fontana also did not want to increase the millage. He said there are fewer businesses in the parish to tax.

“The smaller portion of the population is paying all of the taxes, and that is wrong,” Fontana said. “I am against that. This is a way of increasing taxes without board responsibility. We don’t have to say anything.”

“We are passing a tax without authority and without the public knowing anything. We are limiting it with a smaller and smaller number of people,” Fontana said.

Searle said, “You are putting a tax on people that do not have the right to vote against it.”

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