The Ascension Parish government maintains separate accounts for two seemingly related functions (neither of which should be government business in our opinion, but we digress), mental health and the parish health center of Ascension. The two receive the lion’s share of their combined revenue of $ 6,917,500 expected to be $ 2 million Ad valorem Ten-year (property) tax assessments, each of which generates over $ 3 million per year. If $ 7 million a year to operate seems excessive, consider the recently passed 2022 budget forecast a combined fund balance of $ 16,547,264 (a budget surplus).
The village of the health center (commonly called “health unit”) must be renewed on December 11.
One would think, given that voters approved a separate mill for the Ascension Animal Shelter operation in 2018 (see below), that the health unit’s mill could see a reduction (like the Mill of library, see below). Prior to 2019, parish animal services and mosquito control were funded through the health center mileage (interestingly, the health unit was under the leadership of Kenny Matassa before he won. the presidency of the parish in 2015). Animal Services now have their own budget, after being taken out of the Health Unit.
The Health Unit Fund, according to the Open funding on the Parish Government website, rose from $ 3.02 million (in 2018) to $ 3.54 million (in 2021), corresponding to the Animal Services mileage collection which generates more than 1.5 million dollars in annual revenue.
The lack of public discussion on any of these issues is problematic, especially given the non-existent level of trust between the government authority and its constituents. However, the president of the parish seems to have retained a certain political capital. Parish operations will be transparent, or not (notwithstanding the Open funding on the improving parish website).
Voters, as few as possible, are urged to renew each property tax every ten years, and the electorate (as small as possible) rarely disappoints. The Ascension Council usually sets these elections on dates when turnout is expected to be low, let’s call them off-cycle elections for the pleasure of discussing. Since voters opted for Home Rule on July 17, 1993, another out-of-cycle election By the way, the government authority has submitted nearly two dozen tax elections for voter approval.
NOTE: These do not include the 20 or so tax choices placed on various ballots by the school board and other taxing entities (also out of cycle for what it’s worth).
Seven parish-wide fiscal elections (we include the East Ascension Consolidated Gravity Drainage District) were decided with strong turnout (in cycle) elections, with a batting average of 0.571. The 5 EA Drainage mills were renewed twice, most recently on November 6, 2018, with a participation rate of 54.6% (accompanied on the ballot by a parish judge). 67% of voters opted for renewal, a point higher than the 66% approval of Oct. 3, 1998, when the tax was accompanied by school board elections.
On November 2, 2010, two Ad valorem the reviews to support the Ascension Parish Library were comfortably approved; 2.6 mills (69%) / 4.2 mills (67%), both dedicated “to the maintenance and support of the Ascension parish library and its branches”. Appearing on the same ballot as the Congressional races, a healthy turnout of 47.3% was no problem at renewal. In fact, these libraries performed better than two out of cycle elections. It was probably not necessary to carry out the most recent renewal, combined in a single millage and reduced to 5.6 mills, out of cycle on August 15, 2020, when the turnout dropped by two-thirds.
Three parishes (in cycle) tax initiatives have largely failed:
- The 5-mills of Better Recreation NOW! could only garner 38% of the vote on November 4, 2014, when Congress races were also on the ballot (53.8% turnout).
- Lanes for Change, a 1/2% sales and use tax for transportation, fared negligibly, garnering 43% of the vote on November 6, 2012, with a turnout of 72% (Barrack Obama and Mitt Romney also on the ballot).
- Another presidential election, on November 4, 2008, was accompanied by a parish tax on Ascension; 3 mills to buy Lamar Dixon Expo Center failed with 41% of the vote (Ascension bought it anyway afterwards).
The widespread belief among the voting public is that tax elections are intentionally timed out of cycle increase the likelihood of electoral success. Some tax proposals, however (EA Drainage, Library Fees, Council on Aging …) all seem safe if carried out. to- Where out of cycle. We suspect that the parish health and mental health center assessments would be successful in either case, although it is difficult to support them with such stored and growing surpluses.
Why leave it to chance if you are a board member?
Rarely does a tax proposal fail in Ascension Parish when turnout is low. In fact, we have only one instance; the property tax of 6 million of July 16, 1994 to finance parish recreation which gathered 46% of the vote, almost dooming the ultra-popular assessment of 1.5 million of the Council on Aging to the failure of the process.
Council on Aging tax renewals, when not accompanied by unpopular initiatives, accumulate impressive percentages. Compare the 1994 vote, when 52% of those 7,285 voting citizens repeated the assessment to May 3, 2003, when pro-CoA voters made up a sterling majority of 87% (out of a meager 1,626 votes in total); and on May 4, 2013, when CoA funding was renewed with a 65% majority (out of a relatively strong turnout of 14.3% – 10,034 total votes).
No, the proposal for a mill for “the acquisition, construction, improvement, maintenance and operation of an animal shelter for the parish, including the equipment and facilities necessary for this purpose. “. A month after the renewal of EA Drainage and the appearance of the parish magistracy on the ballot, the Animal Shelter factory barely won the passage (51%) on December 8, 2018 when the turnout dropped from 54% to 16%.
Would the animal shelter have been approved on November 6, 2018? We think, no.
Would the Parish Health Center fail in a cycle election ballot? Our guess; probably not, although it would smell a lot better if the measure had been made public. With the ten-year term expiring in 2021, no election this calendar year was going to generate much turnout. Four amendments to the Louisiana Constitution drew 10% in November; the much publicized vote of April 24 to sell the âassetsâ of the parish sewers collected only 9.4%.