Speak up Saturday and cast your votes

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 15, 1998

L’Observateur / July 15, 1998

Saturday is election day for two St. John the Baptist Parish tax issues. Weat L’Observateur urge all eligible voters to participate at the polls.

The first issue, sponsored by the St. John Parish Sheriff’s Office, is arenewal of its present millage, with the addition of 1 mill earmarked to finance the deputy retirement fund. At present, that money comes fromthe department’s general fund, and approval would free up more money to department operations.

The second issue, sponsored by the St. John School Board, is directed atpay raises for teacher, providing more money for alternative schooling, upgrading technology and buying three new buses. This is an effort to helpthe system attract and keep better teachers and also improve the educational climate of our students, both through technology and through the separate education of students in need of alternative attention.

St. John Parish is presently enduring growing pains, with more newresidents flooding into the area by the thousands. The volume of newresidents puts a strain on existing systems, from utilities to roads to schools to police protection. Simply keeping up is a strain for communityleaders, as they prioritize available money and cope with the pressures on their resources.

For the sheriff’s office, officials say the proposition is especially vital, as the millage makes up half the department’s total operating budget. Lossof that income would significantly affect law enforcement efforts in the parish, at a time when more, not less, is necessary.

And the school board proposition, they say, is vital for the future of local students, the effort directed at producing a better-educated, quality student, able to step into the workplace and continue to make their contribution to the parish’s future and well-being.

However a voter feels about either tax proposition, it is vital to the parish’s future to make his and her voices and opinions known by voting this Saturday. A low voter turnout is not a fair representation of thefeelings and concerns of the electorate. Little could be worse thanindifference, and a 10 percent voter turnout is hardly “majority rule.”Try not to bring personalities into your decision-making process, but consider the issues carefully, and vote accordingly.

Historically, off-elections where there are no offices at stake bring a low turnout at the polls. These two tax propositions, though, are vital to theparish’s future, both now and in the long run.

In most nations, citizens do not have the right to make their voices heard in issues so vital to their own future, affecting both their own quality of life and the future of their children.

Please consider each proposition, read and talk to your neighbors and encourage others to come to the voting booths. The polling places are openfrom 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday.We encourage all St. John Parish voters to make known their feelingsabout these tax propositions, and participate in Saturday’s election.

It’s the American way.

Copyright © 1998, Wick Communications, Inc.

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