Seniors, health unit, road proposals on Sat. ballot

Police Jury President Jim Tuck this week urged Vernon residents to go to the polls Saturday and vote to renew property taxes for the senior citizen services and for the health unit. Also on the ballot is the runoff for state treasurer and two tax renewals in Road Dist. 5.

At the conclusion of the November jury meeting Tuck reminded citizens of the upcoming election and appealed to them to continue the taxes for another 10 years.

“The money raised helps provide vital services to citizens of the parish,” he said, reminding residents that the requests are for 10-year continuation of existing levies, not for any new taxes.

Proposition No. 1 on the ballot is the senior citizens tax. It was last authorized in November 2008. It yields about $147,000 annually on a millage rate of one mill.

 Because of assessed valuation changes, 1.04 mills, a change of .04 (four hundredths) of a mill is sought to raise the same amount of funding.

The revenue is used to match state and federal funds allocated to the parish for services to the elderly. Those services include establishing and maintaining centers for senior citizens.

The health unit levy, last renewed in February 2008, raises about $457,000 a year. The millage rate would change .12 (twelve hundredths) of a mill to provide the same amount of revenue as the current 3.11 mills.

Revenue from the tax is used to furnish the parish’s portion of funds to maintain and operate the health unit, an entity which touches the lives of every resident of the parish.

Health unit programs range from restaurant inspections to wastewater systems. The unit, operated by the Louisiana Dept. of Health & Hospitals Office of Public Health, also has a vital records responsibility and provides health and medical services out of its facility. It is part of OPH Region 6, headquartered in Alexandria.

In addition to paying the parish portion of the Health Unit operating costs, the tax also provides funding or other related public health activities, such as parish inmate medical expenses, and for improving, maintaining and operating the parish animal shelter.

The road district continuations provide about $143,000 a year for road and bridge maintenance and about $57,000 for road and bridge construction and improvement.

Homestead exemption applies on the renewal propositions.

The treasurer’s runoff, to fill the unexpired term of John Kennedy, now a U.S. Senator, is between Derrick Edwards, a New Orleans Democrat, and John Schroder, a Covington Republican.