Ascension Parish Public Health Center is the subject of a 2.0 mill property tax renewal on the off-cycle election date of December 11, early voting to run from November 27-December 4 (exclusive of Sundays). Among the issues we find perplexing is the fact that nowhere could we find a listing for that particular entity (should the ballot initiative, published in its entirety below, refer to “Ascension Parish Health Unit”?). More disturbing for any big government critic is the practice of scheduling these tax elections on dates when turnout will not reach double digits.
It is dishonest and anything but transparent. And that is why this chronic voter will be casting a protest ballot against:
Shall the Parish of Ascension, State of Louisiana (the “Parish”), under the provisions of Article VI, Section 32 of the Louisiana Constitution of 1974, as amended, and other constitutional and statutory authority, be authorized to renew the levy and collection of, and adopt an ordinance providing for such levy and collection, of a special ad valorem tax of 2.0 mills on the dollar of assessed valuation on all property subject to taxation within the boundaries of the Parish (the “Tax”) (an estimated $3,007,000 is reasonably expected at this time to be collected from the levy of the Tax for the entire year), beginning with the tax collection for the year 2022, and annually thereafter, to and including the year 2031, and shall said Tax (after paying reasonable and necessary expenses of collecting and administering the Tax), be used to provide funds to the Parish to be used to maintain and support the Ascension Parish Public Health Center, including buildings, maintenance expenses and other related health care expenses?
Assuming the initiative should have referred to Ascension’s Health Unit, the Mission Statement for that kindly sounding organization reads:
The objective of the Ascension Parish Health Unit is to provide health care services and to promote the well being of the general public within the Parish of Ascension and its surrounding parishes.
The list of services provided:
- Providing WIC services for low to moderate income families
- Immunizations-$10.00 per visit
- Family Planning-Provide yearly exams by appointment only for birth control which includes pap smears, breast exams and STD testing
- Sexually Transmitted Diseases-Testing by appointment only for Syphilis, Gonorrhea, Chlamydia and HIV (Treatment for Gonorrhea and Chlamydia offered at a minimum cost)
- Pregnancy Tests-$5.00 charge
- Providing assistance in locating agencies that provide aid to those in need: Food Stamps/Medicaid
None of which is to argue for/against the merits of these services, though no one that I know of personally has ever utilized them. Thus, $3 million annually seems a bit excessive, (especially when said services are being extended to “surrounding parishes”). Maybe a general accounting might do the persuading.
There is no valid reason for the renewal’s omission from the November 13 election date (when turnout was a healthier, but still appalling, 10%). If you’re tired of the practice, vote NO and send your elected representatives a clear message.