CLINTON — Officials of two East Feliciana Parish agencies are stressing “no new taxes” in asking voters to support tax renewal propositions on the Oct. 24 ballot.
“It’s nothing new; we can’t emphasize that enough,” said Michael Bradford, president of the East Feliciana Parish School Board, which has three proposals to continue existing taxes for another 10 years.
“I want to stress to everybody that it’s not a new tax. They’ve been paying it,” said Ben Chasteen, director of the East Feliciana Parish Communications District 1, which seeks renewal of a 1-mill property tax for 10 years.
Early voting for the Oct. 24 election continues from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. through Saturday at the Registrar of Voters Office, 11048 Bank St., Clinton.
The School Board is asking voters to renew:
A 1-cent sales tax for another 10 years, with 91 percent of the revenues dedicated to salaries and benefits for all school employees and the remaining 9 percent dedicated for maintaining and operating parish schools.
Another 1-cent sales tax for 10 years, with half of the proceeds dedicated to teachers’ salaries and half to school construction, maintenance and operations.
A 17-mill property tax for 10 more years, with the proceeds dedicated to salaries for teachers and other employees.
Two of the propositions were put on the ballot on behalf of School District 1, which is synonymous with the parish School Board.
“It’s very important,” Bradford said of the Oct. 24 vote.
“Our superintendent is doing a good job of advertising it, and our board members are working hard to get support,” Bradford said.
School Superintendent Carlos J. Sam, who officially began his term in July, said East Feliciana Parish teachers are the lowest-paid in the state.
If the taxes fail, employees would “take a major hit in their pocketbooks,” Sam said.
The communications district operates the parish 911 call center and, since 2013, dispatches emergency calls to 13 parish fire departments, five municipal police departments, the Sheriff’s Office and parish constables.
The district used grants to open the call center, but the 1-mill property tax is a source of income for equipment and a portion of the dispatchers’ salaries, Chasteen said.
“I’m optimistic that it will pass,” he said.