Lafourche voters to decide on money for jail - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports, Social

Lafourche voters to decide on money for jail

MATHEWS, La. - Leaders in Lafourche say the parish desperately needs a new jail, and next month, voters will decide if some tax money should be reallocated to fund it.

The proposal would mean less money for libraries.

There are only four parish-wide property taxes in Lafourche for drainage, roads, recreation and libraries, and Parish President Charlotte Randolph says the library system is the only area that could afford to operate with less money.

Voters will decide in November if one mill of library taxes should be rededicated to fund a new jail. That would generate about $850,000 a year for a new detention center.

The parish would budget an additional $600,000 a year for the project. Randolph says the current jail near Thibodaux is outdated and overcrowded.

The parish sends about 200 inmates to other jails around the state because there's no room, costing Lafourche $1.3 million a year.

Council members got an update on the proposed project Tuesday night. The plan calls for a 540-bed jail, costing about $25 million.

Randolph says it's a tough decision, taking money away from kids for jail inmates, but she believes it's necessary.

"It's time we keep these prisoners at home," she says. "It's time we build a new facility which would offer greater services including mental health, rehab and other items that potentially, we hope, we'll not have repeat offenders, and that's our goal."

Library Director Laura Sanders says she's very disappointed with the idea.

The budget for next year is $6.5 million, and Sanders says that would drop to $3.9 million if a mill is rededicated for the jail.

Voters will decide the on issue Nov. 16.

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