St. James Council approves 2011 millage

Published 12:00 am Saturday, August 20, 2011



VACHERIE – The St. James Parish Coucil on Wednesday unanimously approved an ordinance setting the 2011 property tax rate at 39.25 mills.

Parish President Dale Hymel said the parish’s millage rates are about 4 percent, or 1.6 mills, less than rates this time last year. He said the parish had been able to pay off some outstanding debt from 2010.

According to the ordinance, the millage collection funds several parish public services such as road maintenance, drainage, fire departments and medical services. It also funds building maintenance for hospitals, libraries and the parish courthouse.

There is also a portion set aside for payment of principal interest on various outstanding general obligation bonds.

Council members Elwyn Bocz, Jason Amato, Wilson Malbrough Jr., Ralph Patin, Ken Brass and James Brazan voted in favor of the ordinance.

Councilman Charles Ketchens was absent from Wednesday’s meeting.

In other action, the council also unanimously approved an ordinance to award the sale of up to $35 million in Gulf Opportunity Zone bonds to Jefferies & Company Inc., a securities firm, with the money going to Nucor Corp to help finance construction of its iron manufacturing facility in Convent.

Parish bond attorney Hugh Martin said the bonds will be issued initially as fixed rate bonds with an interest rate not to exceed 8 percent per year. He said the bonds will mature no later than 12 years from the issuance date.

The council also voted in favor of a resolution to endorse Nucor for participation in the Louisiana Enterprise Zone and Quality Jobs Programs. Hymel said Nucor’s participation in the program will allow the company to utilize a 50 percent rebate of sales and use taxes on purchases of building materials, machinery and equipment during construction of the first phase of the company’s steel and iron manufacturing plant.

Hymel said the state anticipates phase one could generate as much as $2.4 million in sales taxes during construction. He said the rebate, which was part of the state’s incentive package to attract Nucor to the region, will be available after work is complete. State and local officials joined Nucor late last year to break ground on the $750 million first phase of the project, a direct reduced iron facility.

The council also agreed to introduce an ordinance that would remove a number of roads from the parish road system that are no longer needed for general use by the public.

The streets under consideration as part of the proposed ordinance include Hymel, Helvetia and Peachon streets in District 4, which includes the communities of Convent, Union and Romeville. The ordinance also includes Minnie, Pikes Peak, Sidney, Bessie K., Lapice and Aubrey streets in District 5, which includes Vacherie and St. James.

The council set public hearings on the proposed ordinance for Sept. 7 at the St. James Courthouse in Convent and Sept. 21 at the courthouse annex in Vacherie. Both hearings will begin at 6:15 p.m.