Soon people in the eastern parts of Monroe will start seeing what a special sales tax has bought– fixes to roads and infrastructure. Voters approved the tax this past November.

Ouachita Parish Police Juror Shane Smiley says there are many well overdue improvement projects on the east side of Monroe. “It’s very hard for us to tell folks that we can’t do a project, we can’t fix a road we can’t fix an offroad drainage canal” said Smiley.

The issue? Not being able to fund the improvements.

But Smiley says the east side of the parish is one step closer to seeing some changes. “I think citizens will be able to tell a huge difference.”

Last November voters approved a 1.39% sales tax. That money was to strictly be used on road and drainage improvement projects on the east side of the parish.

Smiley said “those are projects that would have never gotten done without the citizens voting to pass the tax.”

The Police Jury deciding to sell seven million dollars in bonds– for a period of ten years– to be repaid by this tax.

“We want to be able to sell those bonds, get that money, spend it on the projects and then begin paying it back as soon as possible” added Smiley. Using the money to quickly improve roads, and then begin major drainage projects that are over twenty years old. “The reason we’re doing in this order is that the drainage projects are just not ready to go.”

An exact date for the improvement projects hasn’t been set, but jurors say they’ll be finished soon.