Early voting begins as Albany school district proposes sales tax for projects

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ALBANY, La. (BRPROUD) – A school district in Livingston Parish is hoping to pass a new sales tax to pay for upgrades.

“The first time he was going to appear on the ballot was right after Hurricane Ida and I didn’t feel like it was fair to ask, you know, past people to pay a tax duty,” said Dr. Livingston Parish School Board, Dr. Devin Gregory.

Gregoire said high, middle and elementary schools in Albany needed a hand with a few improvement projects, and that the passing of a half-cent sales tax in April could be the solution.

The school district wants to build a separate cafeteria for upper and lower elementary schools because there is not enough space.

“Sometimes these kids start eating at 10 a.m. and the cafeteria doesn’t get done until 1 p.m. or after an hour,” Gregoire explained.

Trapper Kinchen, an Albany alumnus, says other schools in the parish are moving forward and Albany needs to get involved.

“You always have to remember that nothing good is ever born out of fear… fear of change, fear of progress. I think if you embrace things and help growth, that’s always good “, did he declare.

They have sought to invest money in athletics, which Ross Kinchen says needs to happen on the east side of the parish as others like Denham Springs are currently renovating their facilities.

“Maurepas, French Colony Holden Springfield, Albany…there is no track facility, and the opportunity to have one here in Albany would be phenomenal,” he said.

Many residents said Albany’s population was growing and that half a penny was just the investment they needed for the city’s future.

“They bring in money, they bring in new perspectives, but where are we educating all these kids?” Trapper asked.

“I think this is a problem that needs to be solved with regard to the school system and the infrastructure. You could only hold so many students,” Ross added.

However, some community members felt that taxing was not the way to go.

“Nobody likes taxes. But if you think about it, it’s $0.01 on $2,” Grégoire said.

Sales tax would only apply within the school district.

“Money spent in our district stays in our district. It does not go to the west side of the parish. It’s the money you spend here in our district that stays and supports our kids,” Ross said.

Only residents of the district can vote on this tax. Early voting ends Saturday and general voting is April 30.

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