St. James tax proposal fails by a single vote

Published 11:45 pm Tuesday, April 8, 2014

By Monique Roth

LAPLACE – The adage “every vote counts” certainly rang true throughout St. James Parish Saturday night as a single vote decided the fate of a proposed new tax.

By a vote of 538-539, voters in St. James Parish rejected a proposed 1.25 millage that would have been used to support several programs providing meals for those in need.

Less than 7 percent of the parish voted on the proposed tax, which would have collected an estimated $611,000 annually for the St. James Parish Nutrition Kitchen. The tax was proposed for 10 years, and the kitchen would have supported the Department of Human Resources service programs and activities, including but not limited to programs for the elderly, Meals on Wheels, Head Start, summer youth literacy programs and St. James Parish ARC activities.

St. James Parish voters did, however, give the green light to two tax renewals on the ballot, including a parishwide 3.92 mills for 10 years for the operation and maintenance of the parish’s Human Resources Department and a 1 mill tax for street lighting that will be levied throughout the parish, with the exception of Lutcher and Gramercy. Less than 8 percent of voters cast ballots on those votes.

In other local elections, the St. Charles Parish Council-at-Large Division B seat race will be heading to a runoff election set for May 3.

Democrat Jarvis Lewis, former deputy St. Charles Parish assessor, garnered the most votes in that race with 47 percent. Current Parish Council District 7 representative Julia Fisher-Perrier will be his opponent in the runoff. She had 38 percent of the vote.

Lower voter turnout plagued the St. Charles Parish election as well, with less than 13 percent of voters heading to the polls.