THIBODAUX, Louisiana — Just four months after rejecting a shift in property taxes to help pay for a new jail, Lafourche Parish voters could be considering a tax measure for a different jail proposal.
Sheriff Craig Webre and a committee of sheriff's office staff members are preparing to propose a new tax for the construction and operation of a new jail.
Webre says the details of the tax are still being ironed out, but a final proposal should be ready in the next 30 days with hopes of getting it on the May 3 ballot.
"We are very much in the research phase. ... We've contracted some expert consultants in various fields to help us prepare a proposition that would reflect the true needs of the jail project in Lafourche Parish," Webre said.
Building a larger jail "will inevitably require some form of taxation," Webre said.
The Daily Comet reports (http://bit.ly/1blGh71 ) the existing jail is in poor condition and suffers from chronic overcrowding.
Jail consultant Mike Leblanc, of MWL Architects in Lafayette, has recommended the parish spend $25 million to replace it with a 540-bed facility.
Webre's proposal comes after voters' rejection in November of a tax swap that would have taken 1 mill of a 3.8-mill library property tax and used it to build and maintain a new jail. The swap failed by a vote of 4,601 to 3,958.
Councilman Daniel Lorraine has said he was going to propose a 1.5-mill, 20-year tax for a new jail, but now wants to learn about Webre's proposal.
Information from: Daily Comet, http://www.dailycomet.com