Voters in Webster Parish did not turn out in droves Saturday, but the ones who went to the polls were definite about their wishes: They want their library and they want to be safe.
Parish-wide, voters overwhelmingly approved the renewal of a tax that hasn't changed in 10 years and will be good for 10 more, guaranteeing the Webster Parish Library will be able to function. Voting yes were 84.74 percent of the voters or 1,577. Voting against it were 15.26 percent or 284 voters.
"This is such good news for the library, for the people – the ongoing programs and the staff," Lyda Madden library board chairman, said.
The 12-mill property tax is expected to bring in more than $2.9 million annually.
Madden said she credits late board member Henry Hobbs for thinking ahead.
"Thirteen years ago, he told us we need to get enough money to carry us through 10 or even 20 years," she said. "I credit him with far-sightedness."
Madden said she also credits long-time library director Beverly Hammett.
"Beverly is a treasure," Madden said. "She's a frugal deep thinker."
Residents approve 10-year tax to support Fire Protection District 9
Voters in precincts 9 and 10 in Shongaloo, approved a new property tax that will ensure residents in Shongaloo Fire Protection District 9 are kept safe.
Sixty-six voters went to the polls with 81.97 percent or 50 voters casting their ballots in favor of the tax, while 18.03 or 11 voters said no.
Board member John Stanley said the 10-mill, 10-year tax is estimated by the bonding attorney to bring in $160,000 per year, but that is an optimistic figure.
"The tax assessor tells us it will be closer to $100,000," he said. "We need new fire trucks and new equipment, and fire trucks cost around $200,000 each. They start out at about $180,000 for a basic model, and then you have to equip it."
Stanley said it will be at least a year or more before the board will see the money.
"I only have one vote on the board, but my thoughts are to buy equipment without finance charges, so all the money goes into new trucks," he said.
Stanley said in the 14 years he has been on the fire district board, they have purchased one fire truck and that was in 2013.Subscribe to Read!