The following is a news release from the Calcasieu Parish Police Jury:
On Saturday, May 1st, residents parishwide will be asked to vote on a ballot proposition by the Calcasieu Parish Police Jury regarding the existing property tax for maintaining courthouse and jail facilities.
"The courthouse and jail maintenance tax pays for core services that are mandated by state law for parishes to provide," says Bryan Beam, Parish Administrator. "This includes providing courthouse facilities, as well as office space and related expenses for many agencies such as the Sheriff, Tax Assessor, Clerk of Court, Registrar of Voters, and District Attorney. Primary expenses include maintenance, utilities, equipment, insurance, and custodial services."
State law also requires the Police Jury to provide a parish jail, which the Sheriff operates. "This tax is critical, as it funds everyday costs of maintaining the jail and our administrative offices, as well as prisoner-related costs that must be covered such as feeding and medical expenses," says Sheriff Tony Mancuso.
Over the past several years, the parish's general fund balance has been greatly diminished due to significant cost increases related to courthouse and jail facilities. Proceeds of the tax make up nearly 30% of general fund revenues.
The courthouse and jail maintenance tax was originally passed in 1987. The current proposition is for a 10 year period and calls for a rate of 5.75 mills, which is an increase of 2.48 mills from the current levy of 3.27 mills. The dollar amount of the millage increase will vary depending on the assessed value of property. However, as an example, a residential property assessed at $150,000 would pay an additional $18.60 per year. The proposition applies only to existing facilities.