Voters pass tax to recreate New Iberia Police Department - KATC.com | Continuous News Coverage | Acadiana-Lafayette

Voters pass tax to recreate New Iberia Police Department

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Voters have approved a sales tax to re-establish the New Iberia Police Department.

With all precincts reporting, 63 percent of ballots were cast in favor of the tax, or about 2,500 votes.

Unofficial turnout for the election was 20.4 percent, according to the Secretary of State's Office.

Mayor Freddie DeCourt proposed the half-cent sales tax to reinstate a city police department, which the city dissolved in 2004. According to the proposition, the tax is expected to generated $3 million a year to fund the police department.

It's also supposed to provide "funding assistance" to the New Iberia Fire Department, although the amount is not explicitly stated in the proposition.

DeCourt has proposed a nearly $9 million police department budget to start up the operation. The city expects to hire about 80 employees with a $7.2 million annual budget thereafter.

The city disbanded its police department in 2004, citing budget issues. The Iberia Parish Sheriff's Office has policed the city since, with the city providing money each year for the operations.

More recently, the Sheriff's Office had been operating on year-to-year contracts with the city as discussions to reform the police department took hold.

Iberia Parish Sheriff Louis Ackal has said he supports the reformation of the city police department but opposes a new tax, simply because that's the posture he takes as an elected official.

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