Cameron sheriff, police jury at odds over Proposition 1

Published: Oct. 26, 2022 at 7:09 PM CDT
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Lake Charles, LA (KPLC) - The Cameron Sheriff has decided he cannot support Proposition 1 on the Nov. 8 ballot.

The idea was to combine two long time property taxes in Cameron Parish, the courthouse and jail property tax and one for the health unit and add the millages together, which totals 3.96 mills. So, if voters approve, they’d basically be collecting the same amount of money, unless property values rise.

The plan was to change the wording to allow the tax money to be used for to other needs.

But Sheriff Ron Johnson said now that he’s read Prop 1 as it appears on the ballot, he fears the jail and courthouse might not get all they need.

“What I would like to see in this proposition is stating more clearly about what the tax dollars would be spent for. For example, the economic development, we know, if we had surplus, it could be used for economic development. However, it doesn’t state that,” Johnson said.

However, Cameron Police Jury Administrator Katie Armentor says there are important needs that are not being met.

“The courthouse and jail and health unit are extremely overfunded. The courthouse and jail right now have enough money in it, surplus to operate on for a year and a half. The health unit has enough funds to operate for four years. So, if we didn’t collect another penny, they would be simply fine,” said Armentor.

Armentor says there are many different needs for which they have no funding.

“You go look at Grand Lake Fire District or Grand Lake Rec District, you have some ball fields throughout the parish. We’re trying to build some boat launches for all of our fishermen in Johnson Bayou and Cameron. We have one in Grand Chenier,” she said.

But the sheriff wants the proposition to establish priorities.

“If it would be stipulated that it’s going to take care of the courthouse and jail first, and then the health unit and then if there’s surplus, the rest of the buildings and economic development,” said Johnson.

The sheriff says properly clarify the prop and he’ll support it next time. The parishwide election is Nov. 8.

We have a breakdown of both propositions on Cameron’s ballot HERE.

For more election coverage, click HERE.