Orleans Parish Residents To Vote On Renewing a Property Tax Benefiting Audubon Nature Institute

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

Voters in New Orleans will head to the polls this Saturday. On the ballot are runoffs for sheriff, coroner and two city council seats. Plus a property tax millage renewal for the Audubon Nature Institute. WGNO News Anchor Vanessa Bolano explains.

40 years ago some say the Audubon Zoo was an “animal ghetto.” Since then it’s been rebuilt and now those behind it are hoping to keep the zoo ahead of the curve.

Catchy commercials are just one of the ways Audubon is trying to show voters renewing a property tax millage is vital. The 50 year tax replaces two existing ones and would generate close to $12-Million year for all Audubon facilities. CEO & President Ron Forman says the money will be used to build and maintain attractions.

“It’s nice to have really quality attractions to teach our kids the importance and the beauty of nature,” says Forman, “The aquarium is now over 25 years old. Some of the exhibits that you see are over 25 years old, and attractions if you don’t keep improving to build world class then you go down. You can’t maintain.”

If approved the existing millage would rise from 3.31 mills to 4.2 mills, bringing the annual tax bill for a home worth $200,000, with a homestead exemption, from $41.38 to $52.50.

Critics say admission prices should more than cover costs. Others say the beauty Audubon showcases is worth it.

Forman says the admission fees go towards the operation. He says running all of the facilities costs about $50-Million dollars a year.