Voters in the neighboring cities of Youngsville and Broussard will decide Nov. 19 whether to approve new sales taxes to fund large recreation projects in each of the cities.
Early voting for the election begins Saturday.
The Youngsville and Broussard tax measures are moving forward at the same time but are not related, and each city is planning its own recreation complex.
Officials in both cities say the projects are needed to serve an area of the parish that has seen strong growth in recent years.
“I’ve been talking about this for 15 years, and I’ve been asked about it for 15 years,” Broussard Mayor Charles Langlinais said.
The proposal in Broussard is for a half-cent sales tax to build and maintain a recreation complex estimated to fill about 150 to 200 acres.
There is no specific design for the complex — no land has been purchased for it — but current plans call for sports fields, a gymnasium, walking paths, playgrounds and festival grounds, according to information from the city.
The project is estimated to cost from $6 million to $20 million, depending on the price of available land and what features are ultimately built.
Large tracts of vacant land are at a premium in Broussard, and Langlinais said that rapid development in the area was one of the factors that prompted city officials to move forward with the park proposal this year.
“It is really imperative to secure the acreage now. If we wait another 10 years, it won’t be possible,” he said.
The half-cent tax would raise an estimated $2.4 million a year.
Under the tax proposal, that money is to be used primarily for recreation projects, but tax collections in excess of what is used for building and maintaining recreation facilities could be used for other purposes.
The half-cent tax would bring Broussard’s total sales tax rate up to 8.5 percent, with 2.5 cents on the dollar going to Broussard, 2 cents to the School Board and 4 cents to the state.
In Youngsville, voters will decide whether to approve a 1-cent sales tax to build and maintain a recreation complex.
The city has proposed an $11.5 million project that would include multiple sports fields, a community center, playgrounds and a walking track.
A local business, Young’s Industries, has agreed to donate 70 acres near the Sugar Mill Pond development for the recreation complex.
Youngsville Mayor Wilson Viator said the new recreation facility will allow city residents to stay closer to home rather than “driving across Lafayette” to haul kids to baseball games or to enjoy playgrounds and walking tracks.
Viator said the new recreation complex would also attract regional sports tournaments to the area, which in turn could lure more restaurants and possibly a hotel.
“I think a lot of people realize the economic benefit,” he said.
Viator said the city cannot afford to move forward with the recreation project unless voters approve a new tax.
“If they want it, they are going to have to pay for it,” he said.
The 1-cent recreation sales tax would bring Youngsville’s total sales tax rate to 9.5 percent — 2.5 cents on the dollar going to Youngsville, 2 cents to the School Board and 4 cents to the state.
The 1-cent tax in Youngsville would generate an estimated $1.2 million a year.
That’s half the revenue that would be raised with a lesser tax in Broussard, a city that has seen robust sales tax collections from developments along the U.S. 90 corridor.