Voters in Livingston Parish asked again to approve health unit tax renewal

Voters in Livingston Parish asked again to approve health unit tax renewal

LIVINGSTON PARISH, LA (WAFB) - Voters in Livingston Parish may feel a bit of deja vu when they go to the polls May 2.

Three taxes voted down in November 2014 will be back. Some will be asked about a tax renewal for the Holden fire district, others will vote again on Live Oak Recreation and the Livingston Parish Health Unit renewal is also back on the ballot.

For the last several weeks, the parish council has gone back and forth before settling on asking residents to approve a 2.5 mills property renewal tax of the health unit. In November, the parish had asked for a renewal of 5 mills which was voted down.

Parish President Layton Ricks says this renewal is one thing both he and the council agree on. Ricks has been traveling around the parish, speaking at town hall meetings trying to educate the public about why they need the tax.

If it's approved, it would generate about $1.3 million dollars to support the health unit. Ricks says that equals between $32 to $35 on a home worth $150,000.

"Without this millage supporting the budget annually, eventually it would have to close," said Ricks.

He says the parish has to provide for its people, but all the funds in its budget are dedicated to other things.

The health unit provides immunizations for people in the parish and helps mothers get public assistance. It also manages other general health concerns like inspections of the food, water and sewer systems in the parish.

"I think it's something that is well worth fighting for," Ricks said.

Some voters have questioned why they should pass a renewal when the health unit has a healthy reserve.

Officials say they'd use that money in little more that two years. They added that the renewal money could be used to build an additional facility when the population doubles over the next several years.

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