Allen Parish parish wide courthouse and jail maintenance tax

By Tiffany Blackmon - bio | email

ALLEN PARISH, LA (KPLC) - The voters of Allen Parish have spoken again, and they have decided that they do not want a parish wide courthouse and jail maintenance tax.

"I haven't been able to understand why the voters can't understand why we don't need the money, " said Allen Parish Police Jury President Sonny Weatherford, "They must think we have a lot of money we don't have."

Right now Allen Parish can't afford the upkeep of their parish buildings. Expenditures include everything from employee salaries to utilities, and maintenance. According to the police jury, expenditures currently total $316, 849. In an effort to save money, the police jury revised the expenditures, cutting it to a total of $268,556, but Weatherford still says they need to tax because in the long run, the parish will struggle, and it will affect future projects like the new jail.

Despite the outcome of the vote, the new jail is still going to be built, but the problem the Allen Parish is going to encounter is what to do after the jail is up and running.

Weatherford stated, "We have to have a jail, you can't leave criminals on the street. I don't blame people. I don't like taxes either, but if you want services, you have to pay taxes."

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has a 4 million dollar low interest loan available for the jail, but getting that funding will ultimately depend on the parish's ability to pay back the loan.

Sheriff Harold Brady issued this statement, "I think they are doing the right thing because the jail is needed by the parish, and they are on the right track to get it built. Hopefully they can get it done successfully. We are willing to do whatever we can to help."

Weatherford added, "It's going to get progressively worse, and I won't call it again. I've called it five times and if the people don't want the tax, well, we don't want the tax."

The police jury is scheduled to meet again Monday, May 4, 2009 at 6:30 p.m. to further discuss the issue.