Whereas the mission of the Concerned Citizens of St.
Tammany (CCST) is Good Governance, which includes
transparency and good stewardship of taxpayer dollars.
Whereas the Jail & Justice Center original sales tax
initiative (1998), fully funded the principal and interest
necessary to “Acquire and Construct” and provide for their
‘Maintenance and Operations’.
Whereas the Parish has before proposed a renewal of the
original, on April 9th, 2016 which failed, followed by a
version of 10 years versus 20 and a lower tax which also
failed on April 29th, 2017, now voters must vote a third
time. It is to be noted that on December 1, 2017 the Parish
hired LR3 Consulting for $77,800 of your tax dollars to
develop a strategy to re-brand and educate the citizens on
the Jail & Justice Center Taxes.
Whereas the Parish claims the Justice Center tax is only
for “Maintenance and Operations”, both renewal tax
proposals retain language and money to “Acquire and
Construct” despite the original construction being fully
paid by March, 2018. Further, the parish says it may need
to build a parking garage and a storage building. CCST
feels these are “wants” not “needs” and, if pursued at all,
should be voted on separately by the taxpayers.
Whereas Parish officials claim to have implemented cost-
saving measures and a standstill operating budget, claiming
“dire consequences” if this tax does not pass. CCST has
studied the Parish finances, prior year performances, and
met with Parish administration about these issues.
Whereas CCST has concluded that the Parish has not
exercised reasonable financial prudence. The
administration has recently granted double-digit pay and
benefit raises, and those lucrative raises have to be paid
into perpetuity. The Parish has had exponential growth in
its legal staff. Belt-tightening should come before such
things as a fitness center and private baths for the
administration, unnecessary renovations, and the Cultural
Art Center. Further, reducing operating hours at the St.
Tammany Parish Fishing Pier or Camp Salmen Nature Park; or
the cancellation of the annual Holiday of Lights, appear to
be steps which prudent financial management could avoid.
Whereas the Parish has proposed rededicating 10% of the
Justice Center tax to fund the Specialty Courts. Nationwide
research indicates that such Specialty Courts have
inconsistent results regarding incarceration and recidivism
rates, and face challenging fiscal and staffing issues.
Further, we believe that such courts should be approved by
Whereas Louisiana has the highest incarceration rate in the
United States, and new sentencing alternatives are expected
to reduce inmate populations, and recognizing that the
state has reduced inmate populations by over 5000 inmates
in the past five years, there is less if any need for a
Whereas the primary functions of local law enforcement
should be the safety of the community, not the operation of
Whereas Louisiana Department of Corrections operates
facilities that provide higher standards of inmate services
to reduce recidivism such as drug rehabilitation, child
rearing, occupational skills, conflict management,
literacy, in a more secure environment. These functions
are not available at the St Tammany jail, and our state
services are already funded in part by taxes from the
citizens of St Tammany Parish;
It is thus Resolved on this day of February 15, 2018, that
the Board members of the Concerned Citizens of St. Tammany
recommend that, March 24, 2018, citizens of St. Tammany
Parish reject the sales tax renewals.
Respectfully, CCST Officers, Board and Advisors