Important bond election faces St. John voters Saturday
Published 12:00 am Friday, July 18, 2008
By ROBIN SHANNON
LAPLACE – St. John Parish residents are reminded to get out and cast their vote Saturday on three major initiatives that could greatly affect the future of the parish.
Up for consideration on Saturday’s ballot is approval of funds for a wide range of parish projects, renewal of a millage for mosquito controls, and a final resolution on whether or not the town of Garyville can incorporate into a municipality.
Voters will decide if St. John Parish is worthy of receiving a $25 million bond to be used for upgrades to roads, buildings and water treatment within the parish. It will also include improvements to the parish recreational amenities and funding for a gymnasium facility to house recreation department offices. Part of the money would also be allocated for the first phase of total levee protection in St. John Parish.
Parish officials said the bond will be financed through existing property taxes, and would not require any new taxes to be levied onto parish residents.
The other big dog on the ballot is the hotly debated movement toward incorporation of Garyville, Mt. Airy, and parts of Reserve, which is restricted to the roughly 4,000 residents living within the area in question
The issue has been a topic of contention since early March, when a group of residents and area attorneys began seeking signatures on a petition to Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal to get the issue onto Saturdays’s ballot.
Arguments from both sides raged for months on everything from the validity of the petition, to whether or not industry in the area would be included within the town. Final approval of the vote came down in a court ruling Tuesday from ad hoc Judge Ann Lennan Simon from New Iberia, who said the vote could go on, but existing industry will not be a part of any newly created municipality.
Lost among talk of bonds and incorporation is a millage renewal for St. John Mosquito Control, which will also be up for deliberation Saturday. The parish is asking that residents continue to approve the .48 mills that bring in funding for spraying, surveillance, and other measures designed to control the population of the insects.
Parish officials say that the $126,000 the millage brings in helps supplement the contract that the parish holds with St. John Mosquito Control. They also stress that Saturday’s millage vote is not an increase, just a renewal of existing taxes and no new money is being asked for.
Polls open at 8 a.m. Saturday morning and close at 8 p.m. For more information on polling places and where to go to vote, visit the St. John Clerk of Court’s web site at www.stjohnclerk.org.
Check L’Observateur’s special Sunday edition for the final results of Saturday’s vote.