Ouachita Parish voters will soon be voting to pass a tax to continue the operation of the animal shelter and health unit, as well as construction of a new shelter.
A proposed millage that allows the Ouachita Parish Police Jury to levy a 1.75-mil property tax for 10 years for the parish animal shelter and health unit is on the ballot for the March 25 election.
The proposed millage would replace the existing 0.75-mil tax property that is set to expire in 2023. If approved, the millage will fund a new facility.
“We’re at a critical impasse with the animal shelter,” OPPJ President Shane Smiley said. “The animal shelter’s been operating on a very, very tight budget for a number of years and we need to allocate more money to the animal shelter for operations.”
The shelter is experiencing staffing issues due to the parish not having enough money to pay shelter employees, as well as operating out of an antiquated facility in a location with poor drainage, Smiley said.
“The conditions out there are not adequate for the staff and the animals to be in,” Smiley said. “There’s no air conditioning out there in the summer. There’s no heat out there in the winter. If we hadn’t had a number of volunteers out there in the past five to 10 years, we wouldn’t even be in this good of shape that we’re in today.”
Following repayment of bonds issues for construction of the new facility, the tax would drop 1.25-mills after any bonded indebtedness from the project was paid off by the Police Jury.
On election day, the polls will open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
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