In The News › Voters consider Orleans Sheriff Marlin Gusman’s tax plan May 2

Voters consider Orleans Sheriff Marlin Gusman’s tax plan May 2

By Jonathan Bullington | The Times-Picayune

April 17, 2015

Voters in Orleans Parish will decide May 2 whether to approve a 10-year Law Enforcement District tax freeze Sheriff Marlin Gusman said would pay for 2013 federal consent decree obligations at Orleans Parish Prison.

Early voting for the election begins Saturday (April 18).

Voters rejected a nearly identical tax proposal last fall, despite support from Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s office and the nonprofit government watchdog Bureau of Government Research. Both have reaffirmed that support for the current tax proposal, though BGR’s came with concerns over Gusman’s oversight and contracting practices.

The sheriff’s current property tax rate of 2.8 mills would not change if voters approve the ballot measure, BGR said, noting that a homestead-exempt property owner whose home is valued at $300,000 would continue to pay the same $63 in property taxes to Gusman’s office.

The current tax rate is set to dip with the office’s waning debt obligations from capital project bonds. The ballot measure, if passed, would take the difference between the frozen tax rate, and what would be a declining tax rate, and funnel it to pay for 2013 federal consent decree obligations at the much-maligned jail.

The BGR estimates the tax could produce roughly $53.3 million over the 10-year period. Gusman has committed in writing, according to BGR, to use the tax dollars only for consent decree obligations.

The early voting period runs from April 18-25 (excluding Sunday, April 19), at these locations:

City Hall, 1300 Perdido St., room 1W24

Algiers Courthouse, 225 Morgan St., room 105

Chef Menteur Voting Machine Warehouse Site, 8870 Chef Menteur Highway

Lake Vista Community Center, 6500 Spanish Fort Blvd.

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