PRESS RELEASE – April 11, 2017
The Northshore Business Council (“NBC”), an organization comprised of some sixty (60) CEO’s and business leaders in the Northshore region, supports the upcoming tax renewals for the St. Tammany Parish Jail and Justice Center. These two separate tax renewals, which will appear on the April 29th ballot, propose to reduce the amount of the existing tax by 20% as well as the terms of the taxes, which have been shortened from 20 years to 10 years (a 50% reduction).
The Justice Center tax pays for the ongoing operations and maintenance costs of numerous agencies including the Clerk of Court, the District Attorney’s Office, the Sheriff’s Office, Registrar of Voters, and the 22nd Judicial District Court. Funding from this tax also covers the Justice System agencies housed in the Slidell Towers Building. A portion of the Justice Center tax revenue is being rededicated to help fund Specialty Courts which take non-violent offenders and offer them tools for recovery so as to become a part of the Community as opposed to the Justice System. Following rehabilitation, these citizens can reenter the community as productive and contributing members of the population.
The Parish Jail tax is the primary source of revenue for the St. Tammany Parish Jail which employs some 200 deputies. By State law, the Parish is required to pay for the cost to house Parish inmates. On average, the Jail is occupied by over 1,100 inmates each and every day, which includes State and Federal inmates wherein the revenues for housing them helps to supplement the cost of operations.
As part of our ongoing efforts to promote a strong and vibrant economic community, the NBC commissioned the Metropolitan Crime Commission (MCC) to perform an accountability study of the criminal justice system in St. Tammany Parish. Through no use of public funds or taxpayer dollars, and with the cooperation and support of the District Attorney, the Sheriff, the Clerk of Court and the Judges of the 22nd Judicial District Court, the MCC’s final report was released on April 5th. During the study period, the MCC concluded in its findings that St. Tammany Parish has a relatively low crime rate. Violent crime rates were 60% below the national rate and more than 70% lower than the rate in Louisiana.
The NBC understands and appreciates the value that our community’s quality of life has on our region. National studies have shown the growing importance of a well working and fully coordinated criminal justice system in assisting with economic development and in the quality of life for citizens. Both the Jail and the Justice Center are critical components of our quality of life here in St. Tammany Parish.
The Northshore Business Council (“NBC”) is devoted exclusively to the improvement of business and economic conditions in the Northshore region including St. Tammany Parish, Tangipahoa Parish and Washington Parish.