Filed Under:  Politics

Our recommendations for the May 2 Millage Elections

27th April 2015   ·   0 Comments

Jazz Fest is on, and springtime brings many distractions. It is easy to forget to vote.

Our editors have railed at the practice of scheduling property tax elections on dates guaranteed to provide a low turnout. Yet again, the parishes of Orleans and St. Bernard have done so, in a hope to increase the favorability to their millage amongst a taxophobic population.

That puts little trust in the voters, and the Editorial Board of The Louisiana Weekly hopes that in the future these millage votes might be scheduled along with the regular election cycles in October and November. Until that time, though, the electorate should not use the scheduling of an election in May to forget to go to the polls.

The issues on the ballot this Saturday are critical to the literal survival and advancement of this Greater New Orleans area. The millages in Orleans will determine if our criminal justice and library systems will continue to operate, and the millage in St. Bernard is even more simple. Passage of the latter will determine if St. Bernard and the Lower Ninth Ward will simply survive a hurricane in the future.

So please, go vote—before you venture out to the Fairgrounds to enjoy the Jazz fest.


Law Enforcement District Proposition
(Millage): VOTE YES

This renews for 10 years, an existing 2.8 mill tax for the purpose of funding the new jail to comply with the recent Federal Concent Decree. It redirects funds from General Obligation Bonds that are soon to be paid off, to the jail, and not one dollar in taxes are increased upon the homeowner.

Not one extra dollar leaves your pockets. Moreover, the Feds will insist that we make these reforms, so if we do not redirect this millage, we will have to cut police officers on the street to institute the reforms. No one wants that. Please support.

Parishwide Public Library Proposition
(New Millage): VOTE YES

Our editors are usually highly resistant to enacting any new property tax, especially in Orleans Parish where rising assessments are driving property bills to a level that many working class homeowners are in danger of losing their homes.

But a city cannot survive without its libraries, and if this millage is not enacted on Saturday, at least two libraries will close and the hours will be reduced at most of the remainder to the point that they will be unavailable to most of the working public.

Our editorial board trusts the Library system truly needs the funds for which it has asked. We remember that after Hurricane Katrina, the Library Administration did the fiscally responsible thing, rolling back millages when several of its branches were closed—thereby giving the struggling homeowners of New Orleans a tax cut. Few governmental bodies would have ever voluntarily surrendered its funds.

The Library System did, and it also built up a $12 million surplus over the interviewing years at the same time. Such a reserve, that when the Orleans reopened all but one of the pre-Katrina library branches, the system was able to pay its staff and operate its facilities out of that surplus. But, the $3 million per year it drew out will exhaust the reserve next year. And, the resulting deficit will force branches to close.

Should the proposed 2.5 mills pass on Saturday, almost every Orleans library branch will be open seven days a week. Children will be able to enjoy reading on Saturdays and Sundays, and late afterschool. And, more importantly perhaps, literacy programs that are targeted for those who have never learned to read, will be boosted to help those who hold a job during the day.

Please support the Library millage on Saturday.


Parishwide Lake Borgne Basin Levee District Proposition
(Millage): VOTE YES

The very confusing language of this millage has a simple purpose, bring levees up to standard to resist a once-in-a-century Hurricane. Not only will it protect St. Bernard, but will also fortify the rest of this potential floodplain, notably the Lower Ninth Ward.

The purpose of this property tax, for a period of 30 years ,will be to maintain “necessary levees, levee drainage, flood protection, hurricane flood protection.” In order words, to make sure that never again will a 17-foot wave wash away a large part of the Greater New Orleans area. Even the most anti-property tax activist realizes that there is really no point in keeping taxes low if your house is destroyed by another hurricane.

This article originally published in the April 27, 2015 print edition of The Louisiana Weekly newspaper.

Readers Comments (0)

You must be logged in to post a comment.