Lafayette voters heading to the booth on Saturday will see several tax renewals, including a renewal of an existing 8.76 million parish-wide property tax for the Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s Office.
The tax is expected to generate $20 million a year.
The renewal tax covers payroll, equipment and day-to-day operations. Sheriff Mark Garber says without this renewal, the department would have to make more cuts, including deputies.
“This is not a time in our community to go backward and to compromise our security. This is a time to maintain what we have,” Garber said.
In December, Garber asked for a half-cent sales tax to cover his department. The tax would have allowed more deputies to be hired and the purchase of new equipment. However, it was rejected.
With the rejection, Garber says they have had a difficult time.
“We have tightened our belts, decreased our spending, and we have lowered our employee census from 880 to 830. [There was a] pretty drastic cut in salary expense, and I have done that in response to the will of the voters saying, ‘Look, you do with what you have,” Garber explained.
The sheriff stresses to voters the 10-year renewal is important for the community.
“I need this renewal to keep doing what we do. It would be a devastating blow. That’s a direction I don’t think we want to go.”
If voters reject the tax renewal, Garber says he will try again in the fall.