Lafayette

Dec 13, 2013 7:58 PM by Akeam Ashford

Sheriff's Office Looking For More Money From Smaller Lafayette Cities

Lafayette Parish Sheriff Mike Neustrom is asking Carencro, Scott, Youngsville, Broussard, and Duson for more money to help offset the cost of housing inmates at the parish jail.

Representatives from Neustrom's office proposed a taxpayer-funded fee of $40,000 to the city of Carencro that would be paid to the Sheriff's Office for dispatch services, or communications.

According to Captain Kip Judice of the sheriffs department, an additional $50,000 would be used to pay for incarceration and booking at the Lafayette Parish Correctional Center. The combined $90,000 would be in addition to the more than $600,000 a year Carencro property owners pay in taxes to the Sheriff's Office.

"It's about how do we remain fiscally sound and have an agency that is prepared to walk into one of these communities and provide the level of assistance we provide every day," Judice said.

Currently, the five municipalities do not contribute directly to funding the jail or the parish communication system. In 2012 the cities contributed over $34 million to the Sheriff's Office through three separate property millages.

The city of Lafayette is the only city in the parish that pays for its inmates housed at the parish jail and has its own communication system.

The Sheriff is proposing each town is charged based on how many inmates are housed at the jail. It costs the sheriff's office $54 per day to house an inmate.

After hearing the Sheriff's proposal, Carencro Mayor Pro Tem L. J. Boudreaux says he doesn't think Carencro needs to fork over any more money to the Sheriff's Office.

"I mean he's asking us to take money out of our tax roll from the citizens to pay this, why don't he just go to the voters as a whole," Boudreaux said.

Boudreaux says property owners in Carencro paid $500,000 to the jail through taxes in 2012.

"By state law, it's the sheriff's responsibility because of the tax money he receives to run the jail. Why should we contribute additional dollars," Boudreaux said.

Judice said the extra money his office wants from each of the cities is to offset higher jail and dispatch costs due to the ongoing growth of those cities.

He said there are no shortfalls in the Sheriff's Office current budget, and the sheriff's request for more money is not connected to the parish's $24-million jail under construction in north Lafayette.

The Sheriff's proposal will have to be formally presented to each city, and then approved by each council.

There's no timetable for when that might happen.

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