Weak support on metro council for police pay tax
BATON ROUGE - Half of the members on the Baton Rouge Metro Council either oppose or are undecided on a property tax hike for police pay raises. The 8-mill property tax hike proposed by council members Matt Watson and Tara Wicker was introduced at the metro council Tuesday night and faces a council vote in January before going to the voters in the Spring.
"I hear from my constituents we need to do something about crime and there's no better preventiveness to crime than to back up our police force," Watson said.
The ten-year tax would raise pay for Baton Rouge police officers several thousand dollars a year while costing a person who owns a $150,000 house in the city limits and extra $120 a year. Watson wants to attract more recruits to the department while maintaining its veterans.
Along with Watson and Wicker, council member Barbara Freiberg is also in support.
Opposing the plan are council members Chauna Banks, Donna Collins Lewis, Erika Green and Scott Wilson.
Council members Dwight Hudson and Lamont Cole said they are undecided pending more information.
Council member Trae Welch said he will only support the tax if the majority of the council members who represent districts in the city limits also support it. Welch said the tax would largely not apply to his district in the northern part of the parish.
Council members Buddy Amoroso and Chandler Loupe were absent from Tuesday's meeting and could not be reached for comment.