Acadiana voters overwhelmingly approved four tax renewals and a new tax on the ballot Saturday, according to complete but unofficial election results.
About 67 percent — or 6,789 voters — approved renewal of a property tax for the Lafayette Parish Sheriff's Office that makes up about a third of the agency's budget.
The vote renews an 8.76-mill parish wide property tax for 10 years. The tax is forecast to generate about $20 million a year for the general fund of the sheriff's office to cover primarily payroll, but also operations, training and equipment.
"With this renewal, the Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s Office will continue to maintain and provide the highest level of service and security that the residents of this parish know and deserve," Sheriff Mark Garber said in a statement.
Two major tax renewals on the Lafayette ballot were approved overwhelmingly by voters in Saturday’s election.
Garber said the office will continue with its reorganization plan, which is "designed to maximize personnel and operational efficiency through technology and reallocation of resources."
About 77 percent — 14,022 voters — approved the Teche-Vermilion Fresh Water District millage in the four-parish voting area.
The fresh water measure will renew a 1.5-mill property tax for 10 years in Lafayette, Iberia, St. Martin and Vermilion parishes. The tax is projected to generate roughly $5 million per year to cover equipment costs and operating expenses for the system that cleans water in the Vermilion River and Bayou Teche.
"We were very, very happy and grateful that it had passed in all of the parishes and that it had really good support in all four parishes," said Donald Sagrera, executive director of the Teche-Vermilion Freshwater District.
Voter turnout for both ballot measures was 6.6 percent.
In total, 10,144 voters in Lafayette Parish cast ballots on the sheriff’s office measure, including over 1,900 voters who submitted early voting ballots.
Across the four parishes, 18,215 voters turned out to vote on the fresh water tax measure. Over 4,300 of those residents cast early ballots.
"I’m really not disappointed in the turnout," Sagrera said. "The reason I’m not disappointed is because we really made a lot of effort to get the word out that we were going to be doing this. We really felt like the effort was there on our part. I’m really more pleased with those who came out and voted than displeased with those who didn’t come out and vote."
Separate tax items on the ballots in Iberia Parish, St. Martin Parish and Vermilion Parish also passed Saturday.
About 79 percent of voters in Iberia Parish approved a 6.15-mill property tax renewal for schools. Voter turnout in Iberia Parish was 7.6 percent.
About 72 percent of voters in St. Martin Parish approved a 7.91-mill property tax renewal for schools. Voter turnout in St. Martin Parish was 5.9 percent.
About 71 percent of voters in Vermilion Parish approved a new 1/2 percent sales tax in Abbeville. The tax is expected to generate $1.4 million per year, starting Oct. 1, for city employee raises. Voter turnout in Vermilion Parish was 9.6 percent.