Registered voters in all St. Charles Parish wards and precincts are eligible to cast their decision in an April 24 vote that will decide the fate of a $17,000,000 millage proposed by St. Charles Parish Hospital.
The proposition on the ballot would, if passed, issue bonds to finance major upgrades and improvements at the hospital. The bonds would be paid by extending the current ad valorem tax at a reduced rate, which means this is not a new tax but rather a continuation of an existing one.
A passage of the proposal would mean a reduction in millage from current 3.16 Mills to 3.06 Mills. For example, homeowners with homestead exemption whose property is valued at $200,000 or less would see their annual payment of $39.50 decreased to $38.25 if the millage passed, while homeowners with homestead exemption whose property is valued at $300,000 or less would see their annual payment of $71.10 reduced to $68.85 if the millage passed.
St. Charles Parish Hospital is a service district hospital, which means the citizens of the parish own the hospital and are represented by their Board of Commissioners. Since 2014 Ochsner Health has managed hospital operations and administers the operations and expenses of the hospital.
In a recent poll reported by Ochsner, 65% of parish citizens said that they or their family members use the hospital – a 28% increase in use of services in 8 years. Ochsner officials said the proposition on the April 24 ballot would provide funding improvements including but not limited to a new chemotherapy center, latest MRI technology, a new mental health program, new ambulances, redesigned surgery suites, redesigned physician clinics, a new East Bank sports center, a pharmacy upgrade and improved heating, AC and generator units at various facilities.
“St. Charles Parish Hospital is owned by the citizens of the parish and it is a privilege for Ochsner Health to manage its operations,” St. Charles Parish Hospital CEO Keith Dacus said. “Keeping high quality healthcare local is critical. We want to build off our success over the last several years and continue to expand comprehensive services at St. Charles Parish Hospital. The major improvements we have planned are supported by the proposition on the April 24 ballot. It will reduce the current millage and expand services. We want to continue to grow and improve the healthcare we offer in St. Charles Parish at your hospital.”
The River Region Chamber of Commerce also expressed support for the measure.
“We understand that this is not a new tax, but an extension of an existing millage at a lower rate,” a RRCC statement read. “The revenue generated by this proposed millage reallocation will greatly enhance the hospital’s services through new equipment, technology, facility infrastructure and other capital needs. Being owned by the citizens, St. Charles Parish Hospital is known to be a great community partner to its residents and businesses by way of transparency and consistently putting a high quality of care at the forefront.”
Election Day is Saturday, April 24. Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
April 20 is the last day to request absentee by mail ballots, and those are due back by April 23.
Early voting will be available from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, April 10, and from April 12-17. Early voting is done at the two Registrar of Voters office locations: the west bank courthouse at 15045 River Road in Hahnville and on the east bank at the Arterbury Building, located at 14564 River Road in New Sarpy.
For more voting information, visit the parish’s Registrar of Voters page at www.stcharlesparish-la.gov/government/governmental-agencies-and-officials/registrar-of-voters.