ST. LANDRY PARISH, La. (KLFY) — In St. Landry Parish, a crucial point in this weekend’s elections is a health unit tax renewal.
The tax is only voted on every ten years, but makes a major impact on healthcare units and workers across the parish. St. Landry Parish President Jessie Bellard said healthcare units are at risk if the tax does not pass.
“Without this tax passing on Saturday, we’d have to close down the health units in our parish that’s run by the parish,” said Bellard. “Our parish is huge and just having one health unit in our parish would not be enough, so this health unit tax is in place to help that happen.”
The health unit tax is a .2% property tax in place for ten years that directly funds healthcare facilities run by the parish and pay the nursing staff in charge. This includes health units in Sunset, Eunice, Melville, and others across the parish. The unit in Opelousas is currently the only unit operated by the state.
Also involved in funding from this tax is St. Landry Parish Animal Control, an area which has been a major focus of parish government over the past year.
“It doesn’t pay to sugar coat it. If this tax doesn’t pass, animal control is shut down. Animal control is one of the most needed services that’s provided in our parish,” Bellard explained. “Right now, I think we have 135 dogs in the shelter. But working with the Bissell Foundation, they come, and they pick up animals and bring them all over the United States.”
With healthcare and the animal shelter being two crucial services provided in the parish, Bellard says it is important for voters to support this tax and ensure every person and their furry friends are taken care of.
“There’s a lot of benefit to this tax. A lot of benefits that people don’t really know because if you don’t go to the health unit or don’t go to animal control and stuff like that; you don’t know what it’s all about. But that’s what we concentrate on, to provide a service to the people of our parish,” said Bellard.
With a low voter turnout in October’s primary, and an even lower turnout expected for this weekend, Bellard stresses the importance of everyone going to the polls to let their voices be heard.
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