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Early voting for April 24 general election continues



MONROE, La. – Some 1,300 people have participated in early voting for the April 24 general election as of Tuesday, according to Secretary of State’s office data.

Early voting ends Saturday. Early voting will take place in Monroe at the Registrar of Voters’ office at 1650 DeSiard St. from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Voters across the parish, except in Monroe, will entertain two proposed taxes the Ouachita Parish School Board says are essential for maintaining school facilities and paying for year-round operations.

One tax proposal entails the levy of a 24.15-mill property tax for a 10-year term to support the maintenance and operations of school facilities.

Besides the property tax proposition, the School Board also has asked voters to consider the levy of a half-cent sales tax for a 10-year term beginning in 2022.

School Board officials have characterized each tax proposition as a “renewal,” referring to voters’ past support of the two tax items.

The School Board initially sought to make the sales tax permanent but abandoned that proposal in the face of opposition from the public. The West Monroe-West Ouachita Chamber of Commerce and the Monroe Chamber of Commerce both raised concerns about approving a perpetual term for the sales tax.

Last week, the Monroe Chamber of Commerce’s board of directors voted to support the parish school system’s two tax propositions.

The Chamber’s Governmental Division monitors the programs, policies and actions of all taxing authorities in Ouachita Parish. Since businesses pay approximately 86% of all property taxes in Ouachita Parish, the Monroe Chamber is keenly interested in property tax initiatives.  After reviewing the renewal, the Monroe Chamber board agreed that the two tax propositions are critical to operate and maintain Ouachita Parish School system facilities.

Meanwhile, voters in southern Ouachita Parish also will entertain a run-off in the race for the Second Circuit Court of Appeal’s First District, Section 1C.

Fourth Judicial District Court Judge Marcus Hunter, of Monroe, will meet Monroe attorney J. Garland Smith in the April 24 general election.

Each candidate is a Democrat.

During the March 20 primary election, Hunter collected 3,605 votes, or 44 percent, while Smith received 2,628 votes, or 32 percent. At that time, Fourth Judicial District Court Judge Larry Jefferson, of Monroe, came in third place with 2,013 votes, or 24 percent.