LOCAL

Parish Council calls April 21 tax election

Deidre Cruse

The Iberville Parish Council last week to call an April 21 election for voters to decide whether to renew two three-mill property taxes for another 10 years, one to help pay for the maintenance and operation of parish buildings and the other to finance the operations of the Iberville Parks and Recreation District (IPRD).

Voters also will be asked to decide a proposition to double the homestead exemption for certain disabled military veterans and surviving spouses.

Chief Administrative Officer Edward A. “Lucky” Songy Jr. said the veterans of American Legion Post #167 asked for the item to be placed on the ballot. It would implement a Louisiana constitutional provision and increase the exemption from $75,000 to $150,000.

In an oversight by the Ourso Administration, the three-mill building maintenance tax expired and was not collected this year. Parish officials want to restore the tax, which provides some $1.27 million a year toward the large budgetary item.

IPRD collects the same amount to maintain, operate and provide recreational programming at parks throughout the parish. Its millage has not increased in nearly 30 years of operation.

The IPRD Commission asked the Parish Council to call the tax election.

The April 21 vote will be the second tax election of the year for Iberville voters. The School Board already has called a March 24 election asking voters, for a second time, to approve a 6.22-mill school maintenance tax that voters narrowly rejected in a low turn-out election last spring.

In other action, the council accepted the recommendation of Parish President J. Mitchell Ourso Jr. and renewed extended its contract with the parish's residential garbage contractor, SWIDI, or SWeeDee, rather than advertise for bids.

The contract will continue at its current price of around $21 per household, but has a fuel adjustment clause that would raise or lower than amount if gas goes above or drops below $3.60 per gallon, Chief Administrative Officer Edward A. “Lucky” Songy Jr. said.

SWIDI will continue to provide twice-a-week residential garbage service and once-a-week “boom” truck service for larger refuse, as well as four recycling points around the parish.

The Parish Council also approved the introduction of an ordinance authorizing the transfer of a 50-foot lot acquired in tax adjudication to SNF Inc. The land is located within the SNF industrial area.

A public hearing on the proposal is set for January 17, just ahead of the council's first regular meeting of the year.