November 13 Election: Millage renewals placed in hands of voters

Published 10:35 am Wednesday, November 10, 2021

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LAPLACE — Four millage renewals on the November 13 election ballot ask St. John the Baptist Parish voters to continue generating funds for the animal shelter, recreation, road lighting and school district employee salaries.

Proposition No. 1 asks voters to renew .75 mills, an estimated $580,000 to be collected per year for the next 10 years, for the purpose of generating funding for the Animal Shelter and animal control programs in St. John the Baptist Parish.

Parish President Jaclyn Hotard said animal control facilities are important to the parish and present a wide range of services to pet owners, including vaccination clinics and spay/neuter clinics. Even though the Animal Shelter building on Highway 44 in LaPlace sustained damage during Hurricane Ida, operations are continuing from temporary mobile offices parked on-site. The Parish initiated a memorandum of understanding with the Louisiana State Animal Response team to continue providing services as hurricane recovery efforts continue.

Proposition 2 asks voters to renew funding for parks, playgrounds and recreation programs in St. John Parish at a rate of 2.25 mills, an estimated $1,739,300 to be collected from the levy of the tax per year for the next 10 years.

Recreation has been a priority for Hotard as she looks to expand opportunities for the youth beyond traditional sports.

“Even with COVID, we have been able to do so much more with recreation. We had many firsts in 2020, from art camps to cheer camps, dance camps and yoga. We have continued that in 2021 with tennis clinics and adult volleyball to reach others in the community who would not have participated before,” Hotard said. “We know our kids need something constructive and positive to be involved in, and we’re committed to doing what we can to improve recreation.”

Funding from this millage is also used to maintain parks and playgrounds in St. John Parish.

The “Parishwide Road Lighting District Proposition” asks voters to renew funding for the parish to maintain and operate lighting on streets and at public facilities. This tax is levied at 3.83 mills, representing an estimated $2,942,200 collected per year.

This funding is used for annual road lighting maintenance, as well as to implement more energy efficient and cost-effective LED upgrades around the parish. The Parish is also having to fund extensive repairs to road lighting due to damages from Hurricane Ida.

The last renewal on the November 13 ballot is the School District millage renewal. St. John Parish voters are being asked to renew a 3.47 mill ad valorem tax that would account for $2,665,700 to be collected each year for the next 10 years.

St. John Parish Assessor Lucien Gauff III said the School District millage renewal is different than the others because the amount being levied is increasing from 3.26 mills to 3.47 mills. Voters approved 3.47 mills as the ceiling years ago, which means this is not a new tax.

“It’s a renewal, but it is slightly different than it was in previous years. It was already authorized. It was done years ago, but the School District did not seek the maximum amount of money over the years,” Gauff said.

The School District millage renewal can only be used for the following specific purposes:

  • Additional salaries for teachers, allowing St. John the Baptist schools to remain competitive with other districts and attract qualified teachers for scholars
  • Fringe benefits covering the cost of health insurance, workers’ compensation, retirement benefits and medical leave