St. John Parish tax votes loom Saturday

Published 12:12 am Wednesday, April 6, 2016

St. John the Baptist Parish residents are being asked to decide Saturday on millage renewals benefiting the library system and health unit. Voters are also being asked by the St. John the Baptist Parish School Board to approve a new .25 percent sales tax that would benefit the public school district.

Should voters approve all three proposals, they will OK more than $7.3 million in annual revenue benefiting a gamut of public services targeting the young and old.

St. John Parish residents are asked to check their voting precinct, as parish leaders said a number of precincts have changed. Remember to bring photo identification.

Election Day voting takes place from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. at each polling location.

The Clerk of Court’s Office said voters at St. Peter’s School on Election Day will vote at the Lacour Center for the April 9 election only. For precinct information, call 985-652-9797.

• St. John the Baptist Parish voters are being asked to decide on the renewal of a 9.94 mills tax for the public library system.

The renewal is for 10 years and begins in 2018. If approved, money generated from the tax is earmarked to maintain, construct and operate the public library branches. Information from the Assessor’s office indicates for a millage of 9.94 mills on a $150,000 home, the owner would pay $74.55 annually. For a $300,000 home, the tax would be $211.50.

“If people don’t vote in favor of the renewal, I think there would be a reduction in services that we can offer and the times we can stay open,” Library Assistant Director Tammy Houston said. “There might also be a reduction in staff.”

• Voters are being asked to renew a millage that helps fund the St. John Parish Health Unit to the tune of more than $430,000 a year, parish officials said.

The proposition calls for the continuance of a .96 mills tax for 10 years, beginning in 2018, which generates $434,790 annually, according to Parish President Natalie Robottom.

Information provided by the Assessor’s office indicated a millage of .96 on a $150,000 home would cause the owner to pay $7.20 annually. For a home valued at $300,000, the .96 millage would generate $21.60 in taxes.

Robottom said revenue from the millage goes towards paying two employees the Parish funds, as well as maintenance, utilities, supplies and equipment.

“We can’t provide these services without the tax being in place,” she said.

“Without this millage, there would be very little money to keep the Health Unit open. This is a crucial service to our residents that has been in existence for many, many years. It’s open to all of our residents.”

• St. John Public Schools Superintendent Kevin George is joining with other School District administrators and School Board members in praising the District’s performance — a key selling point in advance of April 9’s election, when St. John voters will be asked to approve a new .25 percent sales tax to benefit the School District.

The St. John Parish School Board is asking voters to approve a .25 percent sales tax (25 cents for every $100 spent) that would be applied to retail sales, and the use, lease, rental, consumption and storage for use or consumption of tangible personal property on sales of services in St. John Parish.

If passed, it is expected to generate $2.4 million a year. Revenue is earmarked for school security, alternative programs, guidance work at the elementary schools, extra transportation and salaries and benefits. If approved, the tax would go into action July 1.