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Bastrop mayor advocates for property tax increase to pay city’s $1.6M debt

Mayor Cotton hopes voters will support it, however, some do not think they should foot bill
Published: Mar. 8, 2021 at 7:08 PM CST
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BASTROP, La. (KNOE) - Bastrop Mayor Henry Cotton wants voters to approve a new property tax. He said the money will pay the firefighters who’ve been shortchanged for more than 20 years.

“In 2008, the firemen, 32 firemen sued the City of Bastrop and the mayor then for backpay. The city had been not paying... like a lot of other cities, let me make that clear... not paying firemen according to the state-mandated formula.”

In 2019, a judge ruled Bastrop must pay those firefighters $1.6 million.

He said some of the original complainants have already passed away.

“Of those that filed the suit originally, some are not with us anymore. They had families, and their families should have in their estate something from their labors over the years. Some are in nursing homes, some are still with us on our fire department, and we’re very proud of them,” Cotton said.

Cotton is proposing a 1.4 mil property tax he said will generate $70,000 a year.

“That’s $14 dollars on a $100,000 house, annually,” Cotton said.

He said it would be a 10-year tax hike needed to pay down the debt.

One resident said she’s in full support.

“It makes me feel kinda bad. I feel like they deserve the money they are owed due to they actually save people’s lives and help people when their house is on fire,” said Jasmine Johnson.

However, one couple that declined to talk on camera said, “No. The city needs to figure it out without placing a burden on homeowners.”

The tax is on the ballot in Morehouse Parish. Early voting is already underway. Election day is Saturday, March 20. Click here to see a sample ballot.

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