Parish Council planning special millage election

Wade McIntyre

The Ascension Parish Council at its regular meeting last week introduced an ordinance calling for a special election Nov. 2 to renew millage taxes for the Mental Health Program.

On the ballot for voters will be renewal of a 2-mill property tax for maintenance and support of mental health efforts.

Councilmen also considered a proposal by Library Director Angelle Deshautelles to combine two existing millage taxes for the library into a single tax.

Deshautelles said the library board members requested the change in order to aid in long range planning.

Under the request, the current 10-year 4.2 mil property tax would be combined with the existing 10-year, 2.6 mill tax to create a 10-year, 4.2 mill tax.

Parish President Tommy Martinez said the request was a renewal only, but Councilman Chris Loar who heads the council Finance Committee ask that it be deferred to the Finance Committee and the council obliged.

In an unrelated matter during a public hearing, the council deferred to a sub-committee a proposed ordinance to revise the Unified land Development code to create a single standard for private accesses.

The controversial proposal prompted resident Kathryn Goppelt to say it would classify family partitions as subdivisions, require additional permits and encourage land change decisions to be made by staff members without public hearings.

Resident Ed Gautreau said the proposed ordinance would prevent him from subdividing his land and passing it on to his children.

“Every time ya’ll turn around you’re banging on the kids in Ascension Parish,” he said. “It’s hard enough to make a living now.”

Planning Director Ricky Compton defended the ordinance saying it would close a loophole that allows nine lot subdivisions by limiting the lots in number to five per private servitude.

“We do not fear as though we are impacting large landholders in the parish,” he said.

During discussion, several councilmen came out in support of family partitions, including Councilman Randy Clouatre who said he lived on a family partition and favored keeping them alive.

Councilman George Lambert said he was uncomfortable trying to eliminate the rights of landowners pertaining to their children, but said he would still like to pass the majority of the ordinance without handicapping family partitions.

Loar said he did not believe the intent of the change was to eliminate family partitions, that the goal was to prevent large tracts of land given to heirs and then being developed into subdivisions.