This Saturday, May 3, marks more than the second weekend of Jazz Fest — it's also Election Day in some suburban parishes. In Jefferson Parish, voters will decide the fate of three millage renewals, while voters in Kenner will settle the last remaining runoff in the City Council elections. Here are our recommendations.
Consolidated Road Lighting District — FOR
This millage renewal would continue funding to acquire, construct, improve, maintain and operate streetlights in the unincorporated areas of Jefferson Parish and in the town of Jean Lafitte for another 10 years. Only voters in those areas will find this proposition on the ballot. The current maximum rate is 3 mills, and the renewal calls for the same maximum rate for another 10 years. The Jefferson Parish Council most recently set the millage at 2.33 mills.
Funding from this millage is needed to power and properly maintain nearly 40,000 street lights throughout unincorporated Jefferson Parish, to replace deteriorated wiring and pole systems (some of which are 50 years old) and to install new lighting systems along unlighted thoroughfares. Streetlights are essential to public safety. We recommend our readers in Jefferson vote FOR the renewal of this dedicated millage.
Judicial and Culture Renewal — FOR
Renewal of this 10-year millage would continue to provide additional essential funds to maintain, administer and operate judicial services in Jefferson Parish's criminal justice system — and to provide, maintain, administer and operate cul-tural and park facilities and programs. This proposition appears on the ballot parishwide. Proceeds will continue to be divided equally between judicial services and cultural/park facilities and programs.
The present millage is capped at 1 mill, and the renewal carries the same maximum rate. The Parish Council presently levels less than the maximum rate — 0.8 mills. We recommend voters in Jefferson vote FOR this renewal.
Special Services Renewal — FOR
This 10-year millage carries a maximum rate of 2.5 mills, of which 2.03 mills are presently levied by the Parish Council. The renewal proposition imposes the same maximum of 2.5 mills.
If renewed by voters in unincorporated Jefferson and the Town of Jean Lafitte, this millage would continue to provide shared funding to support, maintain, administer and operate judicial services in four key areas: the criminal justice system (40 percent), culture and parks (20 percent), senior citizen services (20 percent) and economic development (20 percent).
State law mandates that local governments bear some of the financial responsibility of local criminal justice systems. In Jefferson, that includes the district attorney's office, the courts and judicial system, Juvenile Court process servers, justices of the peace and related services. This millage also supports funding for the West Bank Security Task Force. Renewal of this millage would continue to provide, maintain, administer and operate park facilities and programs and cultural facilities, such as the professional operation and management of the Jefferson Performing Arts Center.
If renewed, this millage would continue to fund the Jefferson Community Senior Service Fund, which is the sole source of funding for the Office of Senior Citizens Services. The millage funds six senior centers, contributes to the Council on Aging, which provides meals for homebound seniors, supports caregivers and sponsors wellness and education programs for seniors.
This millage also funds the Jefferson Business Development and Economic Service Fund, which provides financial and planning help to businesses in Jefferson Parish. We recommend our readers in Jefferson vote FOR renewal of this millage.
Kenner Council District 2:
District 2 straddles Interstate 10 and includes some of Kenner's older neighborhoods, where infrastructure needs are great, as well as some newer neighborhoods north of Interstate 10, where traffic and business development are major concerns. We believe Mike Sigur offers voters in this district the kind of experience they are looking for in a new council member.
Sigur served as a Kenner police officer for more than three decades, in both the enforcement and administrative divisions of the department. He capped his career by serving on the executive staffs of Kenner's last two police chiefs and supervising the construction of the department's administrative complex. He also has served as president of the Jefferson Alliance for Good Government and president of the Central Kenner Civic Association. We recommend Mike Sigur as the new council member from District 2.
This weekend offers Jefferson citizens many opportunities to enjoy all that southeast Louisiana offers, but we encourage them to take the time to vote in these important elections.