Committee developing possible crime tax plan meets for first time
BATON ROUGE- The committee tasked with tailoring a crime-focused tax plan laid out their needs list on Monday.
It was the first time the group, made up of all law enforcement agencies in the parish, along with departments and organizations with ties to crime-fighting, met.
The concept arose after Mayor Kip Holden's $748 million bond proposal failed to get past Metro Council to a ballot twice in the past month. His plan, split in three parts, addressed crime by building a new parish prison and juvenile justice system, as well as a safety complex where the headquarters for the Police Department and the Sheriff's Department would be housed with a training center in between.
Plans laid out Monday did include the mayor's ideas for crime control, and totaled around half a billion dollars.
It covered new programs that could be paid for by grants that focus on troubled children and truancy. It outlines the need for much more manpower for manning a misdemeanor jail and taskforces to track gangs, drugs, juveniles and outstanding warrants. The list laid out facility needs as well, in particular, an evidence building and community outreach center.
Council members in attendance said they liked seeing the agencies knowing what they need, but they also need a plan to pay for it. A member of the public offered a suggestion to include more public input as a tool.
Smaller cities in the parish were also part of the conversation. They want to see fewer overlapping services across the parish, so the smaller cities can dedicate their dollars to unique uses. The Coroner's Office also offered a report partnership to agencies on mental health patients it monitors so law enforcement will know the background of that person if they ever encounter them.
The committee will meet again in three weeks with a whittled-down list and hopes to create a bottom lime and a means to get there. The goal is to have a report to council in 60 days. If this were to be a tax plan for voters, talk Monday night indicated April as a target date for an election.