- Associated Press - Wednesday, February 19, 2014

ALEXANDRIA, La. (AP) - Voters in Alexandria will decide on May 3 whether to pass a property tax to fund recreation and the city’s zoo.

The Town Talk reports (http://townta.lk/1h5CqZu ) the City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to put the tax referendum on the ballot. The proposed tax is 6 mills for 20 years, with half of the proceeds going to fund recreation efforts and the other half going to help fund the Alexandria Zoo.

The tax would allow the city to run recreation programming it currently can’t afford without major budget changes, expand on the city’s capital improvements to parks and other facilities, and reduce the zoo’s reliance on annual transfers from other city funds.

“This is an opportunity to have top-notch recreation programming and puts a funding stream into the zoo that would be ongoing and not subject to fluctuations,” said council President Chuck Fowler. “I think it’s a win-win for the city.”

“This is a good idea,” said Councilman Ed Larvadain. “We need to do something for these kids. We have too many kids doing nothing. Whatever we can do to reduce crime and keep our kids busy, I’m all for it.”

Six mills would generate just over $2.2 million, or $1.1 million each annually for recreation and the zoo if the tax passes.

A $1 million budget, Mayor Jacques Roy has told the council as it considered this issue over the past several months, would allow the city to run the high-quality recreation programming it lacks, as well as improve an already-solid recreation infrastructure.

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Information from: Alexandria Daily Town Talk, http://www.thetowntalk.com