ELMWOOD, La. — A festering feud between some members of the Jefferson Parish Council and President John Young was on display during Thursday's emergency council meeting in Elmwood.
Council Chairman Chris Roberts blamed Young and his staff for two 10-year property tax renewals going down in flames during Saturday's election.
"You think you did enough to educate the voters on this?" Roberts asked Young.
"You can always do more, no question about it," Young replied. "You can always do more and we will do more."
"I guess at some point we got to question what our priorities are, John," Roberts shot back.
The defeat of the tax measures now leaves a combined $20 million shortfall in parish funding for sewer and water services.
It also jeopardizes $40 million in low interest loans dedicated to capital improvements, including a new water line in the West Jefferson community of Waggaman.
"The message was not delivered to the civic associations and the business community as it's been done in the past and that was apparent in the outcome," Roberts said.
Young suggested the strong anti-toll fervor related to the Crescent City Connection referendum, which also failed, may have helped sink the tax propositions.
"We can't change the past, but going forward we'll definitely up the ante on the public information campaign and make sure we get that information out," Young said.
Council members aren't sure the money can be collected this year with no penalties to taxpayers if voters approve the tax renewals this fall.
"If they're going to be penalized because of something this council – this administration – did, I'm not going to vote for it because I'm not going to penalize them if it's not their fault," Councilman At-Large Elton Lagasse said.
The Jefferson Parish council has a regular meeting scheduled next Wednesday, one in which members are expected to consider a resolution to put the tax propositions back on the ballot in October.