Voters approve BREC tax renewal

East Baton Rouge Parish voters have overwhelmingly approved the renewal of the property tax that funds the parish’s parks system.

With all percent of precincts reporting at 10:20 p.m., 60 percent voted in favor of the tax renewal.

But turnout was light. About 17,799 votes were cast. East Baton Rouge Parish has 277,245 registered voters.

The BREC tax — which funds maintenance, capital improvements and other operations — has been approved by voters every 10 years since 1964.

The 6.2-mill property tax makes up about half of BREC’s operating budget and all funding for improvements at existing parks, as well as the construction of new parks.

On the ballot, voters were asked to decide one proposition that contained two tax renewals: a 4.1-mill tax for capital improvements, operations and maintenance and a 2.1-mill tax that only goes toward operations and maintenance.

Combined, they are expected to generate nearly $23 million for the system annually.

The East Baton Rouge Parish Recreation and Park Commission recently outlined its plans for 2 mills of that — about $7 million a year — that will go toward capital improvements if the tax is renewed. Those plans include the creation of a new community park in the southeastern part the parish and enhancements for trails.