CLINTON — East Feliciana Parish voters are asked to renew a property tax and three sales taxes in the Dec. 6 election to pay for garbage collection, road work and parish Health Unit programs.
Voters approved the taxes for a 10-year period in July 2005.
Early voting, which began Nov. 22, will be closed on Thursday and Friday for the Thanksgiving and Acadian Day holidays, but resumes on Saturday at the Registrar of Voters Office, 11048 Bank St., Clinton.
The polls will be open on Election Day, Dec. 6, from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., an hour less than they were for the Nov. 4 election.
Police Jury President Louis Kent said the taxes are important sources of revenue for both the Police Jury and municipal governments.
“It’s a renewal to let us keep services as they are now,” Kent said. “If we lose those, we’ll be in serious trouble.”
The first and second propositions on the ballot call for renewing for 10 years a three-fourth cent sales tax and a quarter-cent sales tax, respectively, for the primary purpose of paying for parishwide garbage collections in municipalities and rural areas.
The taxes also allow the jury to send a “trash truck” around the parish to pick up large, bulky waste such as tree limbs, Parish Manager J.R. Rouchon said.
The cost of collecting garbage is about $1.2 million per year, Rouchon said.
Without the two sales taxes, the parish would have to charge $20 to $25 a month for garbage service, Kent said.
“We don’t want to do that,” he said.
The third proposition calls for renewing another 1-cent sales tax for 10 years, with the revenues divided among the Police Jury and five municipalities. The proposition restricts the jury’s use of the money to building or maintaining roads and bridges and the town’s to building and maintaining streets and sidewalks.
Under the population-based formula spelled out in the proposition, the jury would receive 62.8135 percent of the estimated $1.15 million in annual revenue, with Jackson receiving 14.6863 percent; Slaughter, 3.8181 percent; Norwood, 2.2908 percent; Wilson, 3.9892 percent; and Clinton, 12.4021 percent.
The road tax has come under some criticism since the proposition was put on the ballot. Slaughter Mayor Robert Jackson recently complained to the Police Jury that his town doesn’t get a large enough share of those dollars. For example, the village of Wilson gets a slightly higher share than Slaughter, but is a much smaller municipality.
While the jury could consider adjusting the formula, Kent said at a recent meeting that any adjustment would need to be decided by the voters at another election.
The fourth proposition seeks renewal of a 3-mill property tax to fund the Health Unit, which Kent said provides vital services to parish residents despite funding cuts by the state.
The property tax proposal also would allow the jury to use 10 percent of any surplus in the Health Unit account for the jury’s general fund and 90 percent of any surplus to the parish road and bridge fund.