St. James voters to consider a new tax, two renewals

St. James Parish voters will decide whether to approve a new property tax to construct and operate a parish kitchen where meals would be prepared for a variety of social service programs. Early voting on the proposition, as well as two tax renewals, starts Saturday for an April 5 election.

The proposed parishwide 1.25 mills property tax, which would run for 10 years beginning this year, would bring in an estimated $611,000 annually for the St. James Parish Nutrition Kitchen.

The kitchen would support the programs of the parish’s Department of Human Resources.

The programs include those for the elderly, which now get meals from a vendor approved by the Governor’s Office of Elderly Affairs; the Head Start program, which has a contract for meals with the St. James Parish School Board; and St. James ARC programs, in which participants bring meals from home when there are not private sponsors, said Melissa Wilkins, St. James Parish government spokeswoman.

The millage would mean an annual property tax of $6.25 on a $125,000 home, said Parish Assessor Glenn Waguespack.

The tax renewals include:

A parishwide 3.92 mills tax for 10 years, beginning in 2015, to operate and maintain the parish’s Department of Human Resources.

The tax brings in an estimated $1.9 million annually. On a $125,000 house, the annual property tax would be $19.60.

A 1-mill tax for street lighting that’s levied throughout the parish, with the exception of Lutcher and Gramercy.

The tax, which would run for 10 years beginning in 2016, brings in an estimated $427,600 per year. On a $125,000 home, that would be a property tax of $4.46.