$1.2 million tax renewal on ballot for Algiers flood protection – Article by Andrea Shaw (NOLA.com/The Times Picayune)

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Algiers residents will be asked Nov. 21 to renew a 6.35-mill tax to pay for flood protection. (NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune)

When Algiers voters go to the polls Nov. 21, they will be asked to renew a property tax that generates $1.2 million a year for flood protection. Early voting on the measure ends Saturday (Nov. 14).

The owner of a $175,000 home, with a homestead exemption, pays $63.50 annually for the tax. If approved, the 6.35-mill tax would continue for 30 years.

The Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority-West, which has jurisdiction over Algiers, said the renewal is necessary to fund daily operations and new obligations. The new obligations include operating the West Closure Complex and raising subsiding levees.

Algiers was part of the Orleans Levee District until 2007, when it was placed under the regional authority as part of post-Katrina reforms. Of the authority’s $7.2 million annual budget, Algiers contributes $2.4 million.

Expenses for the levee authority are split: 64 percent for West Jefferson, 36 percent for Algiers. The authority’s board of commissioners approved the cost-sharing formula earlier this year based on population, flood-fighting assets in each community and the amount of work required in each area.

The Special Levee District Improvement Tax is one of three millages that Algiers property owners pay for flood protection. It was first approved in 1973 and renewed in 1983 for 30 years. The Bureau of Governmental Research supports the tax renewal.

During a Jefferson Federation of Voters meeting Nov. 5, Val Exnicious, president of the Algiers Council of Neighborhood Presidents, said he supports the tax to “protect our homes and family.”

“Before Katrina, we on the West Bank had major missing links in our flood protection system,” he said. “Now we have a $4 billion state-of-the-art system that we would be fools not to maintain.”

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