CLINTON — East Feliciana Parish voters are asked to support a new tax for services to senior citizens and renew a structure fee for fire protection in the Nov. 4 election.
Early voting continues through Tuesday from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., excluding Sunday at the Registrar of Voters Office, 11048 Bank St., Clinton.
The East Feliciana Parishwide Fire Protection District seeks a 10-year renewal of an annual $48 tax for each residential or commercial structure in the parish. The levy on mobile homes is $38 per year.
The proceeds, together with revenues from a separate property tax that is not up for renewal, are used to pay for fire protection and other emergency services provided by the parish’s fire department.
Allen McNabb, chairman of the Fire Protection District’s board of commissioners, said the district supports 10 parish fire departments operating from 13 fire stations, including those in the municipalities.
The structure tax brings in about $345,000 per year.
“We’re hoping folks will realize this is a renewal that’s desperately needed to continue our present level of operations,” McNabb said. “We’re not asking for anything new.”
The East Feliciana Parish Council on Aging is asking voters to support a 1-mill property tax for a 10-year period beginning next year. If approved, the tax would generate about $130,000 annually.
Council on Aging Director Brenda Gardner said the additional revenue would allow the agency to deliver meals to more elderly residents than present funds now allow.
She said the agency delivers meals to 40 residents but has 64 people on a waiting list. The organization also offers meals to COA members who have transportation to meal sites in Clinton and Jackson.
In addition to the nutrition program, the Council on Aging offers transportation for elderly East Feliciana Parish residents to doctors’ offices and other medical facilities in the parish, Baker, Zachary and Baton Rouge five days a week. A COA van also serves seven residents who need kidney dialysis services three days a week, Gardner said.
The agency receives federal, state and parish funds for its operations. Gardner said about 4,000 of the parish’s residents are 60 or older and eligible for COA services.
After several attempts, Gardner persuaded the East Feliciana Parish Police Jury to call the special tax election.
“Lots of parishes have dedicated millages. We just wanted the jury to put it on the ballot and let the people decide,” Gardner said.
East Feliciana Parish has the lowest property tax rate in the state, which has led some railroad and other public transportation companies to establish their domiciles in the parish to take advantage of the lower millage.
Gardner said the addition of a 1-mill tax will not jeopardize the extra revenue generated from the public services properties taking advantage of the low millage.
“It wouldn’t hurt the parish, and I wouldn’t ask for it if it would,” she said.