Crescent City Connection tolls go to voters again on slim ballot

Voters in Orleans, Jefferson and Plaquemines parishes will return to the polls Saturday to decide the fate of tolls on the Crescent City Connection, which were renewed by the narrowest of margins — 36 votes — in November only to be thrown out by a judge in March because of voting irregularities.

While the proposed 20-year renewal generated dueling news conferences and lively campaigning in the fall, this cycle has been much quieter in an election with a slim ballot that falls on a Jazz Fest weekend.

The election also will determine judge runoffs in Jefferson and Orleans parishes, a runoff for mayor and one council position in Westwego and tax propositions in Jefferson and St. Tammany parishes.

Doug Hammel and Yolanda King, both Democrats, face off for a juvenile judgeship in Orleans Parish, to determine who will replace former Deputy Chief Judge Tracey Flemings-Davillier, who was elected in November to Orleans Parish Criminal District Court.

Hilary Landry and Scott Schlegel, both Republicans, are vying for the seat on the 24th Judicial District Court in Jefferson Parish, left vacant when Judge Robert Murphy was elected to the Louisiana 5th Circuit Court of Appeal last year.

In Westwego, incumbent mayor Johnny Shaddinger Jr. is being challenged by longtime Westwego Councilman Ted Munch. Both are Democrats. Councilman Melvin Guidry, a Democrat, is seeking an eighth term representing Westwego’s District 4. His opponent Garrison “Gary’’ Toups is a Republican and former councilman seeking a return to city government.

Jefferson Parish voters will decide on tax renewals for water and sewerage. A proposed 10-year, 5-mill property tax that generates $12.3 million per year would be used to operate the sewer system and another 10-year, 5-mill tax that generates an estimated $14.8 million a year would be used to improve and operate the water system.

Voters in St. Tammany Parish will consider three propositions for their public school system. Proposition 1 asks voters for permission to issue 20-year bonds, not exceeding $135 million, that will be repaid by property taxes, to improve and buy land for school buildings and playgrounds.

Proposition No. 2 would rededicate the $5.7 million generated by an existing 3.44-mill property tax to the operation and maintenance of school facilities and to salaries.

Proposition No. 3 is a 10-year, 3-mill property tax that would generate $5 million annually and would be used to support the school system, including salaries and benefits.

St. Tammany Parish Superintendent Trey Folse said that the measures are needed for the suburban school district to meet the challenges of rising health-care and retirement costs and stagnant state funding.

Madisonville voters will decide on a property tax renewal for Fire Protection District No. 2. The 10-year, 20.62-mill property tax would generate $5 million a year to operate and maintain facilities and equipment in the fire district.