Livingston ballot includes mosquito, fire district tax proposals

Early voting begins Saturday in Livingston Parish on a proposed property tax that would provide additional funds for parishwide mosquito control and a proposal to renew a fire district property tax.

Early voting runs through Oct. 12, excluding Sunday. The election date is Oct. 19.

The 10-year, 3-mill property mosquito control tax is expected to generate about $1.27 million per year.

The parish already runs a mosquito control program and assesses a $30 annual fee on homes with registered electrical services, said Jeanine Tessmer, director of the Livingston Parish Mosquito Abatement District.

But the fee is difficult to collect, Tessmer said.

District officials have a tough time finding mailing addresses to send residents their bill and a tough time convincing them to pay it, Tessmer said.

The district missed out on about $460,000 in 2008 and $451,000 in 2007 because of nonpayments, according to a 2012 audit of the district’s finances.

A property tax would guarantee the district would receive the money, as well as save costs from mailing bills and tracking nonpayers, Tessmer said.

“The fact that we have people that aren’t paying, simply because they refused to pay or we can’t find them … makes it difficult” to provide proper services, Tessmer said.

If voters defeat the tax and residents continue to ignore their assessment fees, Tessmer said, the district will have to rely heavily on its reserve funds.

FIRE TAX: Registered voters in Livingston Parish Fire Protection District No. 4 are being asked to renew a 20-year, 10-mill property tax.

The tax generates about $1.7 million a year for firefighting services, facilities and equipment in the district, which covers most of Walker, as well Port Vincent and much of the northwestern part of the parish.