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Photograph: School board members Mary Ellen Donatto and Timmayah Hardy listen to consultants speak about tax renewal propositions Wednesday night. (Photograph by Bobby Ardoin.)

Editor/Consulting Writer

The St. Landry Parish School Board approved on Wednesday night a pair of Oct. 14, 10-year property tax renewal elections which board members acknowledge are critical for the continued operation of facilities and annual salaries of employees.

Board members stressed during the special meeting that each proposition — 11.78 mills for employees and 4.37 mills for maintenance – are property tax renewals and not additional taxes.

According to the separate referendums that will be placed on the ballot, the propositions are expected to collectively provide at least $12.4 million annually for District-wide expenses and salaries annually beginning in 2026.

Voters may cast ballots separately for each proposition, according to the election notice.

In addition to voting to call the election Wednesday night, board members also gave the authority for bonding attorney Eric Lafleur to notify the State Bond Commission in connection with placing the two referendums on the Oct. 14 ballot.

District financial consultant John Mayeaux apprised board members about the necessity of passing both renewal propositions.

Mayeaux estimated that if approved by voters, the two millages should account for about 10 percent of the District’s total $125.7 million revenue projections for the budget year which ends June 30.

“Looking at those numbers I would say that it’s absolutely critical for (the District) to pass this tax,” Mayeaux pointed out.

Mayeaux said it is obvious what might happen if the taxes are not renewed.

“If you have a business and the profit for that business is cut by 12 or 10 percent, where is that money going to come from? The same applies in this case,” said Mayeaux.

Lafleur said St. Landry is also in competition with other parishes to provide funding for employees and sufficiently maintaining facilities.

“If you don’t have these revenues, then you are going to be at a disadvantage,” Lafleur said.

 There are several additional chances in 2024 for voters to approve the two renewals if they fail to pass in October, said Lafleur.