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Dominic Massa /EyewitnessNews
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dmassa@wwltv.com|Twitter:@DMassaWWL

NEWORLEANS- Important tax issues, proposed changes to the NewOrleansSewerage &Water Board and several judgeships are on the ballot Saturday in the metro area, though turnout is expected to be low.

For a full look at the ballot in your area, click here for the Secretary of State's website.

Polling places are open from 7 a.m. until 8 p.m. Saturday.

There are not many high-profile issues or races on the local ballot, but there are several important judgeships up for grabs, as well as important tax renewals in Jefferson Parish and a ballot issue dealing with the makeup of the Orleans Parish Sewerage and Water Board.

According to an analysis by the non-profit Bureau of Governmental Research, the S&WB proposition would amend the city's Home Rule Charter to alter the composition of the S&WB, one of several reforms being proposed for the agency.

The proposal would reduce the board size from 13 to 11 members by removing the three City Council members and adding a citizen member.

If voters approve the proposition, a corresponding change to state law would take effect. That would trigger other changes, including the creation of a nominating process for potential board members, a shortening of members' terms and imposing term limits.

Mayor Mitch Landrieu supports the changes, and BGR recommended a vote for the proposal as well, which it says would help remove the politics from the management of the board.

Also in Orleans Parish, three candidates are running to replace Magistrate Judge Gerard Hansen, who retires Nov. 1 after 39 years in office.There is also a Traffic Court judgeship on the ballot, with 8 candidates seeking the position formerly held by Division D Judge Ron Sholes.

In Jefferson Parish, voters will elect a Juvenile Court judge, to replace the retiring Nancy Amato Konrad.

Also in Jefferson Parish, voters will be asked to decide whether to continue a 7-mill property tax funding the JeffersonParish School Board's operating and maintenance expenses.

They will also be asked whether to renew the current property tax millage rates of 3.58 mills for Consolidated Sewerage District No. 1 and 3.54 mills for Waterworks District No. 1 for the next 10 years.They are the same tax renewal propositions which were defeated by voters during the May 4 election.

BGR released a study providing an analysis for why voters should support both propositions. The group says the waterworks tax is 'a long-standing component of funding the water system in Jefferson Parish and eliminating it would cause serious problems.'

BGR says if that tax is not renewed, 'the parish will lose the sole recurring source of capital improvements for its water system.'

Likewise, BGR says if the sewer tax is not renewed, 'the parish will lose critical funding for daily operations and maintenance of the sewer system.' BGR also states that 'the parish would lose the opportunity to pursue low-interest loans for capital projects.' Parish leaders and members of the business community have strongly lobbied for voters to pass the tax.

St. Tammany Parish voters will decide several tax issues in Covington, Slidell and Pearl River, as well as vote for Justice of the Peace in St. Tammany Ward 4.

St. Bernard voters will elect a judge to replace retired Judge Manny Fernandez.Kim Cooper Jones and Jeanne Nunez Juneau are running for the Division B seat on the 34th Judicial District Court bench.No matter who wins, the race means that a woman will serve on the bench in St. Bernard for the first time.

Tangipahoa voters will elect a new Family Court judge for the 21st Judicial District Court.Three candidates are running for the seat which also serves Livingston and St. Helena Parishes.

There are also tax issues on the ballot in St. John the Baptist Parish (a sales tax to fund police operations); Tangipahoa, Terrebonne and Washington Parishes.

WWLTV.com and EyewitnessNews will have election results once the polls close Saturday at 8 p.m. online and on Channel 4.

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