OUACHITA PARISH, La. (KTVE/KARD) – Ouachita Parish voters will get to decide if they want to approve a proposal to fund a new Ouachita Parish Animal Shelter this upcoming election.

The new proposition is on the ballot for the construction of the new facility. Ouachita Parish Police Jury President, Shane Smiley says the current millage in place is no longer adequate to support the operations of the animal shelter.

“We are at a critical point. We are at a critical impasse with the animal shelter. The animal shelter has operated off the same millage for so many years.”

The proposed millage will levy a 1.75-millage property tax for ten years for the parish animal shelter and health unit.

“Part of this millage is going to be used for construction, and the other part would be used for operations. For the 0.5 mills that we plan to use for construction, we feel very certain that we will be able to pay it off within a period of five years. Once that set is done, that 0.5 mills would go away. So, that would leave a total mileage of 0.25 mills,” explained Smiley.

He says the drainage is not adequate due to the poor conditions of the shelter.

“The kennels are becoming dilapidated. There is no heat or AC at that current location.”

If that millage passes, this could cost citizens about $18.00 a year for a $250.00 homeowner. But if the millage doesn’t pass Smiley says this could hurt city workers.

“We are currently running at about a third of our staff, and it’s going to get worse if we don’t pass the millage.”

Smiley says they will use 0.5 mills of the proposed millage to build the new animal shelter and pay them off within the first five years of construction.

“So, after five years, roughly about 40 percent of the millage it is been passed, it would go away.

Election day is March 25, 2023.