ST. FRANCISVILLE — West Feliciana Parish voters will see one, or two, sales tax proposals from the parish hospital on their ballots Nov. 6, depending on where they live.
The taxes, if approved, figure into plans to possibly build a new parish hospital.
The West Feliciana Parish Hospital Board of Commissioners is asking voters to continue two existing half-cent sales taxes for another seven years, while also giving the board the authority to issue bonds that could be repaid from the sales tax revenues.
Sales in the town of St. Francisville are taxed at half of 1 percent, and town voters will have only a parishwide proposition, labeled Proposition 3, on their ballots.
Sales taxes outside the town include two separate half-cent levies, and ballots in that area will include Proposition 3 and another labeled Proposition 1 for Sales Tax District 1, the unincorporated area.
The sales tax proposals appear on ballots with presidential, congressional, state Supreme Court and Public Service Commission candidates, nine proposed Louisiana constitutional amendments and several other local propositions.
Although the headings do not include language identifying them as hospital propositions, each ends with the words, “West Feliciana Parish Hospital,” hospital Administrator Lee Chastant said during a public forum Thursday.
The parishwide tax generates about $824,000 per year, while the tax levied outside St. Francisville brings in about $400,000, according to the ballot propositions.
Although taxes would not increase if voters approve the two propositions, they are described as “extensions” and “rededications” rather than renewals because of the language that would allow the revenues to repay bonds.
The hospital board is considering construction of a new hospital costing between $17 million and $22 million, although no final decision has been made, Chastant said.
“We have a vision of a facility that will transform health care in this community,” Chastant said during the forum.
The hospital has about $12 million on hand, and 20-40 percent of the construction costs would come from the hospital’s reserves, Chastant said, while 60-80 percent would be borrowed.
“We will have to borrow, but interest rates are very low and we can pay the money back with new revenues,” he said.
Chastant said the hospital’s goal is to use a new facility to expand its emergency room, offer more diagnostic services, including mammography, add more specialty physicians, increase the number of outpatient services and add a wellness and fitness center with pool.