Caldwell Absent for V-Car Tax Vote

The Ouachita Parish Police Jury voted unanimously tonight for a resolution calling for a 1.8 mil property tax election for Saturday, October 17, 2009. The tax is for the Police Jury’s portion of incentive funds for V-Vehicle Company. The three local governments – the cities of Monroe and West Monroe, and the Police Jury – are tasked with funding about $15 million of taxpayer dollars in direct grants.

District C Juror Walt Caldwell was absent and was said to be on vacation. Caldwell is rumored to be interested in running for Fourth Judicial District Court, Division E. That seat is now held by Marcus Clark, who is running for Louisiana Supreme Court. It is speculated Caldwell was nervous about having an affirmative vote on taxes attached to his record this close to a potential election.

The resolution was offered by District E Juror and President Shane Smiley and seconded by District A Juror Charles Jackson.

The room was filled with area legal and political notables including West Monroe Mayor Dave Norris, Monroe Mayor Jamie Mayo, and Ouachita Parish Tax Assessor Rich Bailey.

Noted local attorney Billy Boles, Jr. was also present.

Attorney Grant Schlueter of Foley & Judell, LLC, gave a presentation with details of the proposed tax. He also presented a letter signed by the CEO’s of four area banks committing to purchase the bonds.

Signing the letter was Van Pardue of Community Trust Bank, Clyde White of Ouachita Independent Bank, George Cummings of Progressive Bank, and Jerome Vascocu of Richland State Bank.

Also at the meeting were Monroe Chamber of Commerce President Sue Nicholson and Louisiana Economic Development staffer Bob Fudickar.

Baily handed out a millage worksheet that shows how much homeowners and businesses can expect to pay in additional property taxes, assuming the tax passes.

Asked why the change from last week’s reluctance to call an election, Juror Shane Smiley said that the bond attorneys recommended the Jury call the election for this fall and they decided to take their advice. He also said that last week they didn’t have the commitment from the banks to purchase the bonds.

UPDATE: 9:15 pm

Scott Rogers of the Ouachita Citizen also has the story.

5 Responses to “Caldwell Absent for V-Car Tax Vote”

  1. OPPJ V-Car Tax Getting Opposition « Lincoln Parish News Online Says:

    […] By Walter Abbott The ink is hardly dry on the property tax resolution passed last week by the Ouachita Parish Police Jury, yet area opposition is already […]

  2. OPPJ: “Best Efforts” to Return Tax if V-Car Craters « Lincoln Parish News Online Says:

    […] jury also accepted a bank letter of commitment presented at last week’s Police Jury meeting. Parish Attorney Jay Mitchell said that bond attorney Grant Schlueter […]

  3. Yet More Public Opposition to V-Car Tax « Lincoln Parish News Online Says:

    […] decision was already made by the Ouachita Parish Police Jury last week when they unanimously voted to place a property tax on the October 17 […]

  4. More Opposition to V-Car Tax « Lincoln Parish News Online Says:

    […] However, that argument was decided for the voters by the Ouachita Parish Police Jury back on July 16 when they put the property tax on the […]

  5. V-Vehicle not on OPPJ’s Agenda « Lincoln Parish News Online Says:

    […] this with the alacrity at which the jury last year passed a resolution to put the issue on the ballot and last week passed a resolution to spend the money. […]

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