MONROE, LA. (KTVE/KARD)– One of the items Ouachita parish citizens may see on their ballot is for G.B. Cooley Hospital Service. The proposition is a renewal, so locals won’t have to pay more than what is already set in place.
“We have just donated a lot of time and people know that we are here to be resource and a support group for their families,” Ben Pitts, CEO of G. B. Cooley said.
The hospital service has been helping people with disabilities in Ouachita Parish since the 1960s. Pitts said by voting yes on their proposition, it would help them continue that mission.
“We have many that are still with us that were here from the beginning,” Pitts said. “We have folks that are 70-80 years old that came here when they were young and are still here.”
Pitts said they are tied in the state’s federal budget, but sometimes that money can be stagnant and hard to come by. He said it could go years without an increase of revenue, which makes it difficult to operate.
“We do not raise funds, we are not a non-profit, so really our fundraising is our tax millage and we definitely need it,” Pitts said. “There’s years we use more of it in operations, then there’s years we use it in operations and capital outlay.”
The funds from the tax renewal would go towards things like construction, maintenance and operation. Pitts said they are currently building two community homes for those with disabilities. They are also expanding into behavioral health services for the youth.
“We are working with the state on plans to enlarge and expand those services in our community, which could be the construction of three to four more facilities in the local area to serve as many as 30 youth in the local area, so we are excited about that,” Pitts said.
Pitts said he hopes everyone makes it out to the polls to vote yes on their proposition to help make sure these plans come to fruition.
“We are here for folks if they need us and we just really appreciate the support,” Pitts said.
The tax renewal would last 10 years, so if it passes, it would run through 2030.