Rec District millage off May 5 ballot

Published 11:45 pm Friday, April 4, 2014

A proposed millage for Washington Parish Recreation District 1, an issue that has been the subject of much debate within the community, has been pulled from the May 5 ballot.

According to Chairman Johnnie Daniel, the unanimous decision was made during the Board of Director’s regular meeting Thursday night.

The process to remove the millage from the ballot began the next day.

Daniel said bonding attorney Foley & Judell contacted the Secretary of State and found out it was not too late. Foley & Judell sent the necessary paperwork to the board, and the members, in turn, signed the paperwork and returned it to the bonding attorney.

From there, the paperwork was sent to the Secretary of State’s office, Daniel said.

The item that had been proposed was a combined 15.75 mill property tax, with 11 mills for capital construction and 4.75 mills for operation and maintenance.

The board also issued a press release Friday that discusses the efforts members have made during the last six years to bring the proposed recreation complex project to fruition.

The board expressed its appreciation for community members’ generous support of the district’s numerous fundraising projects.

“Having appeared many times in local newspapers for various issues and twice on television, it was our feeling that the public was aware of the project that we were working on and was supportive of it,” the press release continues. “We didn’t realize how many people were unaware of the plans to build a new recreation complex until letters went out from the Assessor’s Office and people began to question what this project was.

“From the beginning, it has been our intent to put a proposal before the people that would be well-received and something positive for our communities. Although we believe the project is a positive and much-needed facility, it was never our intent to divide communities, churches and friends in the process of getting this built.

“After careful consideration and much prayer, the recreation district board has unanimously decided to remove the tax from the May 3 ballot.”

Efforts to see that the Atoka Recreation Complex becomes a reality will continue, the board said.

“As we move forward, our plans are to reach out to the citizens of Recreation District No. 1 and ask them to assist us with a solution that everyone can get behind and support,” the press release said. “This has been designed as a project that offers something for everyone and we want everyone’s participation in helping build it.

“We greatly appreciate those who have supported us and ask that others join us in Building Our Children’s Future Now.”