Tania Dall / Eyewitness News
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JEFFERSON, La. -- Early voting is underway in Jefferson Parish ahead of next month's election on property tax renewals parish-wide.

On Tuesday night, Jefferson Parish officials held a public forum hoping to sway voters in support of taxes that they say pay for critical services.

'For local government and vital services, nothing is free anymore,' said Jefferson Parish President John Young, urging residents to vote yes.

From street lights to ambulance services -- even your parks, senior centers and the district attorney's office -- in two weeks voters will decide on millage renewals that help pay for such services.

Here is a break down of what is on the ballot:

1) All Jefferson Parish voters are being asked to approve the renewal of taxes to pay for judicial services, culture and parks. The tax renewal is not to exceed 1 mill.

2) If you live in unincorporated Jefferson Parish and Jean Lafitte, voters there also being asked to renew two services: Consolidated road lighting, not to exceed 3 mills; and special services like Senior Centers and Economic Development, not to exceed 2.5 mills.

3) Finally voters in Grand Isle are also being asked to renew taxes to help pay for ambulance service, not to exceed 5 mills; and road lighting, not to exceed 10 mills.

'These are all vital services and necessary for us to maintain the quality of life and level of services that our citizens have come to deserve and expect,' Young said.

Jefferson Parish officials say the last time voters approved these millages was back in 2004.

'As a businessman, I have a business and I can't run a business without an income. The parish can't continue services no more than any other business or entity could,' said Keith Kiraly with the S-1 Civic Group.

The Waggaman resident showed up to Tuesday night's public forum to learn more about the millage renewal vote and would like to see more voters get involved in the process.

A second public forum on the millage renewal vote is scheduled for Wednesday, April 23 at 6 p.m. It's being held at the Jefferson Parish Government Building at 200 Derbigny St. in Gretna.

Early voting runs now until April 26. Election Day is Saturday, May 3.

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