FRANKLINTON, La. -- The Washington Parish Council is meeting Monday night to find a way to avoid layoffs and cuts in services following two sales tax propositions failing this past weekend.
One, a new one-third of one-cent sales tax, would have helped the parish pass along money to other departments, like the Sheriff’s Office, District Attorney’s Office and Clerk of Court’s Office, as the state requires them to. The other would have expanded the use of a current sales tax to also pay those mandatory costs.
Without an alternative plan to fill a $400,000 budget deficit, parish leaders say big trouble is ahead.
Parish President Richard Thomas said, "I'm just so disappointed that I think a lot of people (don’t) realize what we have to do with these mandated expenses."
Without the thumbs up, the parish is in a tough spot, looking at least at four layoffs in one office right off the bat.
"I don't think it'll still take care of the situation that we have right now,” Thomas said. “We've already cut our office 31-percent and that was for last year."
It was difficult tracking down anyone that voted in the election, but for a majority of the people who were aware of the issue, they agree with the way it turned out.
Arthur Hicks, who voted against the proposals, said, "My personal opinion – I don't think we should vote on sales taxes because I think that should be up to the government."
But some worry what the outcome may mean for their neighbors.
"The government jobs, they need them jobs, so that's my opinion on it,” said Trevor Coglaiti. “I think that we need it."
Parish leaders said they’re not taking the rejection lying down.
"We'll be working real hard to keep this parish going," Thomas said.
Since the propositions failed, the Washington Parish Sheriff’s Office filed a lawsuit Monday against the parish government for not being able to provide its required funding.