Voters Around Louisiana OK 49 Taxes, Nix 10
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Voters in 28 parishes around Louisiana considered nearly 60 tax measures, and the vast majority passed. New or renewed taxes include one for libraries in New Orleans, a $175 service charge for a Bastrop fire protection district, and four for Rapides Parish schools.
Slidell-area voters turned down proposals for a new park and Tensas Parish voters rejected a fee to support Lake Bruin Conservation and Water District.
In all, voters passed 49 taxes and rejected 10. Turnouts were light, according to complete but unofficial results from the Secretary of State's Office.
New Orleans' 25-year library tax could nearly double the library system's income, adding $8.2 million a year to the current $8.7 million property tax. It passed by a 3-to-1 margin.
Proposed uses for the money include returning to seven-day-a-week service at six libraries and boosting another nine to six-day-a-week service. Library officials had said that without the new tax, current hours would have to be cut back severely, and as many as half the branches might close.
Rapides Parish voters approved all four school taxes on the ballot, renewing two parishwide taxes with 3-to-1 and two smaller taxes by even larger margins.
The Bastrop-area fire protection district won approval of the 10-year service charge for every residential or commercial building or mobile home by 476 votes — about 60 percent of the total — to 306 votes against.
The $25-per-parcel, two-year fee for the Lake Bruin district, which affected a single precinct, lost by a 73-to-55 vote, with 57 percent of the voters against it.
St. Tammany Parish residents passed a tax for a fire protection district 4-to-1, but rejected four others, including one to buy 75 acres of land for a proposed park, and another to pay for park operations. Another recreation proposal and one for the Northshore Harbor Center District also were shot down.
"A lot of misinformation circulated in recent days and the anti-tax sentiment was too great to overcome right now," said Sharon Hewitt, chair of the Recreation District 16 Board of Commissioners.
In Washington Parish, five taxes passed, all with 69 to 75 percent of the vote. They included parishwide elections to renew property taxes for the health unit, courthouse, roads and bridges, and the library system, and one for the Bogalusa School District, affecting 19 of the parish's 41 precincts.
Livingston Parish overwhelmingly passed taxes for a health unit, the school board, a fire protection district and a recreation district.
Caddo Parish voters rejected a $108 million bond proposal for parish schools but approved a property tax for the Biomedical Research Foundation of Northwest Louisiana and the parish's criminal justice system. A 1 percent sales tax renewal for a fire district also passed.
Calcasieu Parish voters approved a one-half-percent sales tax for the school system. Westlake voters approved taxes for fire and police; a parish fire protection district and a gravity drainage district also won tax approvals.
Westwego residents approved a $360,000 property tax for the fire department, but rejected two smaller property taxes — one for the sewerage department and the other for the water treatment plant. The water tax lost by two votes — 467 votes for to 469 against.