Jefferson Parish voters have a number of property taxes to consider when they go to the polls on May 3, and parish leaders say the money is needed for everything from the criminal justice system, to road lighting, cultural activities and parks.
"We have a dedicated budget, that's why every 10 years these come up," stated Parish President John Young.
The tax renewals include 3 mills for the "Consolidated Road Lighting District" which provides funds for lights along roads in unincorporated Jefferson parish like Metairie, Marrero, and Harvey and also the Town of Jean Lafitte.
There is also the "Special Services" millage which will is not to exceed 2.5 mills. Twenty-percent of its funding would be allocated to the criminal justice system, including the Jefferson Parish District Attorney's Office.
"Local government, parish government under the state law has to fund certain things in the criminal justice system, certain functions of the DA's office, Juvenile Court, probation officers, justices of the peace, we have to provide that necessary funding," said Young.
Young said the funds directly benefit crime fighting on the streets.
"The criminal justice task force that has been set up, the west bank security task force is funded through that millage as well," he said.
Also under the "Special Services" millage is culture, parks, economic development and senior services.
"So all the Senior Centers, all the Meals on Wheels Programs which we leverage with Jefferson Council On Aging that comes from that funding," said Young.
"We provide over a thousand meals a day to the elderly in Jefferson Parish and the millage pays for over 300 of those meals…Also the millage pays for a lot of our activities at senior centers," said Al Robichaux, CEO of the Jefferson Council on Aging.
That millage also provides funds for parish parks, and cultural facilities, including the Jefferson Performing Arts Center which remains under construction and economic development.
According to mailers the parish sent out, if your home is assessed at $150,000 and if the millage earmarked for criminal justice culture and park is renewed you would pay $7.50 a year.
If the 3 mills for the "Consolidated Road Lighting District" is renewed the cost to owners of a home with an assessed value of $150,000 would be $22.50.
Jefferson Parish leaders say if voters reject the property tax renewals there will be serious financial headaches.
"Reduction in services, some elimination of services altogether," said Young.
There are two millages that only residents on Grand Isle will cast ballots on, the "Ambulance Service" and "District 7 Road Lighting" millage.