Voters narrowly turn down parish millage renewal

Published 12:00 am Saturday, July 19, 2008

LAPLACE – Voters in St. John Parish on Saturday narrowly defeated a bond package that would have been used for a wide range of capital improvements.

Unofficial totals from the St. John clerk of court showed 1,793 voters saying “No” on the bond package, with 1,719 saying “Yes.”

That had 51.05 percent voting against the measure, and 48.95 voting against it.

The defeat leaves St. John Parish President Bill Hubbard faced with trying to bring about improvements in the parish on existing revenue, since the bond package would have renewed existing millage and brought in $25 million for the parish to utilize.

The bond package did not require any new taxes.

Meanwhile, a ballot items to renew millage for moquito control did pass.

In that vote, 1,993 voters, or 55 percent, said yes, while 1,590 voters said no.

According to St. John Parish Public Information Officer Buddy Boe, the .48 mills brought in $126,000 in 2007 to supplement the parish’s contract with St. John Mosquito Control.

Each utility customer in the parish also is assessed $2.50 monthly for mosquito control.

On the bond measure for capital improvements, the parish planned to allocate $4 million to serve as the local match for phase I of St. John’s lakefront levee protection, and $3 million for construction and improvement on public roads and highways, including improvement and expansion of Woodland Drive to Belle Terre Boulevard.

Another $5.5 million was slated to go toward several miscellaneous drainage projects parish wide.

There was to be $5 million allocated toward the parish waterworks system.

An additional $5 million was to go toward necessary construction and improvement of public buildings, based on the findings of a $62,000 building use study that was conducted in the parish in March.

Boe said the plans included renovation of the Edgard courthouse in an effort to provide better safety to the parish judges.