Think about a few of these possible changes in our St. Tammany Parish life:
–Those that live with disabilities in our parish have nowhere to go each day for social interaction or jobs. They end up sitting home day-after-day watching TV.
–Senior citizens who can’t drive have no way to meet with others. They see their life turn into a day of watching soap operas—perhaps forever.
–The Sheriff’s Office is suddenly strapped for money that affects the jail operation to a point that low-level offenders get turned onto the streets. The need for other deputies to assist in the jail means fewer patrols on the streets of our parish.
–Mosquito spraying comes to a halt in St. Tammany Parish and the idea of going outside when the warm weather comes is a distant memory—not something you can do much more in our muggy climate.
–The only large convention center in eastern St. Tammany can no longer accommodate dozens of shows, fundraisers, business and consumer expos, dance recitals and more. Any event that needs a large arena will be shipped out of the parish.
–Fire protection, road lighting and recreation throughout various areas of the parish suddenly do not have the funding to provide the same services residents here have grown accustomed to.
Certainly sounds like it would be a big change for us all, wouldn’t it?
These scenarios are all related to a list of millages that thousands of people now support in St. Tammany Parish when they pay their tax bills.
Together they have made St. Tammany Parish an area that attracts outstanding businesses, as well as individuals who want to live here.
And it all falls under the well-known phrase—“Quality of Life.”
When voters go to the polls on Saturday, Dec. 10 they will face a list of millage renewals that were all approved by voters in years gone by. One-by-one they were brought to the public, asking for support to improve the quality of life we all enjoy.
In recent years there has been a growing trend of failure for some of these millage or tax renewals. Some individuals have made it clear at the ballot box that they no longer want to support the quality of life we have in St. Tammany. And some millage renewals have been defeated.
When you go to the polls on Dec. 10 you will be faced with the same question—“Do you want life as we know it in St. Tammany Parish to continue?”
These millage renewals, most of which amount to a few dollars a month on a land or house note, add up to the quality of life we love in St. Tammany Parish.
Is it more than most people around the state pay? Yes, it is, but that is because residents here have decided over the years they are willing to pay a little more to assure we have a quality of life in St. Tammany that is special, and better than any other place in the state and beyond.
If voters don’t make an effort to turn out and support these millage renewals on Saturday, Dec. 10, the small portion of individuals who have drummed up enough support to defeat them in past elections will win again. And little-by-little, the quality of life we love will continue being chipped away.
Not only do we need the public to make an extra effort to go and vote on Dec. 10, but I urge you to support these millages since they add up to the whole package of why St. Tammany is a better place to live.
Even the millage for the Northshore Harbor Center, while admittedly not a vital revenue source for something like schools or law enforcement, needs our support since the center has given us a meeting area for our community like we never had before, and will likely never have again, if this site is not supported.
It should go without saying that the basic services we have supported for our elderly and disabled population must get a “yes” vote, and so should the millages for the jail operation by the Sheriff’s Office, the fire department in Pearl River, recreation in Folsom, mosquito spraying throughout the parish, and the parcel fee for a lighting district—but the Northshore Harbor Center millage especially needs your support since it is the one thing that some people might question.
For the thousands of people who have been in the Harbor Center for so many special events over the years, it is easy to see how wonderful it is that we have a grand meeting center like that in the parish. It may not be a “need,” but it is positively something that is part of the outstanding quality of life we enjoy in St. Tammany, and it needs our support.
We are urging you to support all of these tax renewals at the Dec. 10 vote, but more than ever, make a point to get out and vote. It is so easy to assume others will assure these important matters are backed. But in times past it has become clear that is not always the case.
The question is whether you want our quality of life in St. Tammany to continue improving, or do you want it to take a big step backwards?
Kevin Chiri can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.