Election set for Saturday

Published 7:08 am Saturday, April 9, 2016

Across Washington Parish voters will be heading to the polls Saturday to decide the fate of the Florida Parish Juvenile Detention Center.

The center is primarily funded by a tax that was voted down last year. The tax on the ballot is not new and it is not an increase — it is only a continuation of an existing tax.

Homeowners who have qualified for the homestead exemption do not have to pay the tax.

However, if the facility does not get funded, there is a danger of closure.

David Merlin Duke, the president of the Florida Parish Juvenile Justice Commission and the Bogalusa city prosecutor, told the city’s school board last month that the tax is necessary to keep the lights on.

“Eighty-five percent of our revenue comes from the (tax) millage,” he said.

This is the only juvenile detention facility in the region, and educators and others have argued the facility is needed. By law, juveniles cannot be housed with adults, so juveniles who are awaiting trial would have to be either released back into the community or they would have to be sent father away.

Voting sites will open at 7 a.m. and close at 8 p.m. All regular precincts will be open, aside from two locations that are closed.

Anyone who would normally vote at the senior center at 603 Willis Ave. will now vote at the Superior Avenue School, 625 Superior Ave. Those who would normally vote at the Lakeview facility at 1613 Highway 10 East will vote at Northshore Technical College, 1710 Sullivan Drive.