Kip Holden and his $748 million tax hike are back. Despite the Metro Council voting by a 3 to 1 margin last week to kill the proposal, Holden has placed the item on the Council’s August 10 agenda. Like a used car salesman, Holden just won’t take no for an answer. Actually, I’m sorry that’s unfair to used car salesmen, though I digress.
The Advocate article this morning on the “bond that won’t die” has several tidbits that show us just how screwed up things are in Kip Holden’s world.
First, Holden’s Assistant CAO and interim DPW Director Bill Daniels confirmed to the Council that Holden is indeed using scare tactics when he says we’re “playing Russian roulette” with people’s lives if we don’t pass the bond:
[Metro Councilman Chandler] Loupe asked interim DPW Director William Daniel to address Holden’s comment last week to the media when he stated that the council is “playing Russian roulette with the lives and safety” of the parish residents by not allowing the tax proposal to go to voters.
“We’re not playing Russian roulette,” Daniel said. “We will not let the public travel over bridges that are unsafe.”
Also, despite Kip Holden being in office for over six years, his administration has refused to carve out room in the City-Parish budget to address our “bridge crisis,” instead relying on state and federal grant money:
Daniel said the tax proposal would pay for the 78 weakest bridges within seven to 10 years, while continuing to compete for state funds and federal funds to replace the other bridges in the future.
“Not to say that we couldn’t have done 200 bridges (in the tax proposal), but we didn’t think that was something we needed at this time,” he said. “Over the next 20 years we can take care of the rest with money from other sources.”
Without financing from the mayor’s tax plan, [Assistant DPW Director Bryan] Harmon said, DPW only receives about $1.2 million a year from state funds to replace bridges, which cost about $1 million on average.
So in other words, we don’t allocate money in the City-Parish budget for bridge repairs and we’re forced to “compete” for state and federal funds to take care of our problem. Oh and the “other sources” that Bill Daniel refers to is more than likely EBR citizens who can look forward to more taxes in the future to cover something that our tax dollars should already be covering. But hey, Bayou Country Superfest was rocking this year!
Oh and did you know that DPW has a $10 million reserve fund? They’re saving it for emergencies…
I’m looking for a hidden camera somewhere, because this has to be a joke.