ST. FRANCISVILLE — Voters in West Feliciana Parish will be asked on Nov. 21 to reallocate 2 mills in existing property taxes to build state-of-the-art recreation and wellness centers.
The proposition involves taking 1.5 mills from the parish’s Hospital Service District and half a mill from the tax the parish uses to finance the Health Unit.
By a 4-3 vote Monday, the West Feliciana Parish Council gave its nod to a proposed agreement between the parish and the hospital district, a final step to placing the tax reallocation proposal before voters.
Council members Mel Percy, Otis Wilson, Ricky Lambert and Lea Williams supported the agreement, while John Kean, Heather Howle and Melvin Young were opposed.
The 2-mill reallocation would be for 20 years, raising $6 million over that period. Some 15 percent of the total would finance the wellness center while the remainder would be used for the recreation/aquatics center, which would be built at the West Feliciana Parish Sports Park.
Parish President Kevin Couhig said it would be a Fit for Life facility offering recreation along with health and educational programs.
The facility would feature a $2.2 million fitness center with an indoor track, fitness equipment and a gym with space dedicated for classrooms, locker rooms and indoor courts for multiple sports. A $1.3 million aquatics center would have an indoor pool and a splash pad. The existing pavilion at the sports park would be enclosed for $500,000 and used for community activities and as an emergency shelter, if necessary.
The wellness center would be built on a 6.72-acre parcel of land transferred from the parish to the hospital district adjacent to where the new hospital will be located off Burnett Road. It would offer rooms for programs like nutrition classes and a center for physical rehabilitation.
Kean and Young questioned whether there are more pressing infrastructure priorities in the parish, such as water needs, sewer upgrades and roadwork.
Couhig said the infrastructure projects will be addressed separately at another time. He also assured the council that the social services budget is sufficient to cover current costs and would not be affected by the reallocation.