LIVINGSTON — Renewal of a 5-mill property tax for roads and bridges appears to be the hottest of four propositions on the Nov. 6 ballot for Livingston Parish voters.
Scott Jones said he is part of a group opposing the millage because health insurance for Department of Public Works employees is being taken from the road fund.
Livingston Parish President Layton Ricks said the group is misguided and will hurt the parish if it kills the tax.
“This tax has nothing to do with health insurance,” Ricks said. “It’s strictly for maintaining our roads and infrastructure. Without the tax, we won’t have money to handle potholes and other maintenance,” and the parish may have to reduce the number of DPW workers.
The group is confusing the millage with a one-cent sales tax for building roads from which money for DPW workers’ insurance is being taken until a better source of funds can be found, Ricks said.
Jones said the money from the two taxes is co-mingled.
While the money from the road-maintenance millage isn’t intended for paying workers’ insurance, “nobody can prove that it is or it isn’t” being used for that purpose, Jones said.
Ricks said that’s not correct, because separate records are kept on the two taxes.
Jones said he has been trying to meet with Ricks for weeks about the insurance issue, but Ricks doesn’t want to meet until his insurance agent has numbers in from all of the insurance companies submitting proposals for the coming year.
That won’t be done until after the Nov. 6 election, Jones said.
Jones said one thing he is upset about is that Ricks hasn’t put selection of the agent of record out for public bid.
“I don’t care who gets it,” Jones said. “I just want an open process with different ideas.”
Chris Moody, attorney for the Parish Council, told the council Oct. 11 that the parish president doesn’t have to put that selection out for public bid.
The 10-year road millage would be continue to be dedicated to “constructing, operating and maintaining roads and bridges within the parish.”
Livingston Parish Assessor Jeff Taylor said that tax would produce about $2 million a year.
He said a 3-mill mosquito abatement tax would bring in about $1.2 million a year.
The mosquito abatement millage is a parishwide property tax that would go into effect in January 2014 and last for 10 years. It would replace a $30-a-year tax on people and businesses with electricity service, said Jeanine Tessmer, head of the parish’s mosquito abatement program.
Collection of the $30 tax has been difficult, she said.
Also on the parishwide ballot is a proposition that would limit to three the consecutive number of four-year terms that a Livingston Parish School Board member can hold.
Similar propositions are on the ballot for other school boards across the state.
A proposition on the ballot only in Fire Protection District 7 would renew a 10-mill tax for 10 years for “maintaining and operating the district’s fire protection facilities and for purchasing fire trucks and other fire-fighting equipment.”
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