In The News › Law Enforcement District millage is vital for New Orleans: Mayor Landrieu and Sheriff Gusman

Law Enforcement District millage is vital for New Orleans: Mayor Landrieu and Sheriff Gusman

By Sheriff Marlin Gusman and Mayor Mitch Landrieu

Letter to the Editor

NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

October 27, 2014

We may not agree on everything, but we agree on this. On Nov. 4, the people of New Orleans have the opportunity to vote on an important measure that can help us fund the Orleans Parish Sheriff’s Office consent decree without raising taxes or cutting services, like police protection and street repairs.

We are voting YES on the Law Enforcement District proposition. We are pleased to have the support of NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune, the Bureau of Governmental Research and the Business Council of New Orleans and the River Region.

The federal courts will soon order the city to invest an additional $10 million to $22 million to fund the Orleans Parish Sheriff’s Office consent decree and improve operations at the jail.

The Law Enforcement District millage is already on the books for 2.9 mills, and it would be wise to use this revenue to pay for the consent decree. But under current law, our hands are tied. We can only spend this revenue to build things, even though we need money to run the jail.

With the passage of this proposition, we will not collect any more taxes, but we will have the flexibility to spend your tax dollars more wisely. All told, with your approval, we can make as much as $8 million available in future years to pay for new court-ordered mental health treatment and medical care at the jail.

However, if this proposition does not pass, we will still have to pay the bill. To pay for it, we would have to cut city services, and the consequences are real.

In the city’s budget, $8 million pays for more than 100 police officers. It equals 12 furlough days for all city employees, including police officers. It funds nearly 75 percent of all of the programming at New Orleans Recreation Department so kids can play sports and learn to swim at our parks. The entire budget for the Department of Parks and Parkways to cut the grass in our city is $7.4 million.

We have worked together on this creative solution to fund a constitutional jail without raising taxes or cutting services. On Nov. 4, we are voting YES on the Law Enforcement District proposition.

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