LAFAYETTE — City-Parish President Joey Durel is reviving a failed proposal to support animal control services using property taxes now restricted to mosquito control and the parish health unit.
The tax deal died a quick and quiet death at the Sept. 16 City-Parish Council meeting when a motion by Councilman Jay Castille to bring the issue up for discussion didn’t get the support of any other council members.
Durel, who has been publicly discussing the proposal for several months, was on vacation and not at the meeting when the administration’s proposal was set for a vote — an absence noted by councilmen.
“Bottom line, more than anything, I think it’s because we weren’t there,” Durel said Friday.
Despite the proposal’s death for lack of a second, no council members expressed any strong opposition, and Durel said he plans put the tax deal back on the table.
No date has been set.
The tax proposal, which requires the approval of the council and parish voters, would not raise taxes but rather would loosen the legal restrictions on two existing property taxes, allowing some of the money to be shifted to cover expenses for animal control.
The Lafayette animal shelter and related animal control operations cost the parish more than $1 million a year. That money is currently pulled from other areas of the budget because there is no separate tax to support the service.
At the same time, existing property taxes for mosquito control and public health generate millions of dollars more than is needed, which sits in a savings account because the property tax revenue is legally dedicated to those services and cannot be used for anything else.
“We know that there is enough money in there to run all three services and still have money left over,” Durel said.
The tax would plan would not only relieve the strain of animal control on the general fund but could also enhance animal control services, Durel said.
Durel said the earliest the proposal could come before voters is likely next spring, if the council gives its OK.