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|Police jury expected to set 2010 millage rates|
The Ouachita Parish Police Jury is expected to approve millage rates the parish will levy in 2010 when police jurors meet next week.
The police jury introduced its revenue ordinance during its last regular meeting. Police jurors are scheduled to set final millage rates for next year during Monday's meeting.
The proposed revenue ordinance calls for an annual tax of 4.18 mills to be levied beyond the incorporated municipalities of Monroe, West Monroe, Sterlington and Richwood. The money collected from the annual tax would be dedicated to the parish's general fund, or main operating fund. Last year, the police jury levied 4.22 mills.
The proposed revenue ordinance also calls for the parish to levy 2.09 mills in the corporate limits of Monroe, West Monroe, Sterlington and Richwood for general fund purposes. Last year, the parish levied 2.11 mills.
The millage rate to fund operations for the parish library system is expected to remain the same at 7.50 mills. The police jury agreed last year to increase the millage rate from 7.38 mills to the current 7.50 mills, which generated roughly $6 million during the tax year. The library's millage rate was increased last year to help pay for two new libraries, which currently are under construction in western and southern Ouachita Parish.
The millage rate to maintain and operate the parish's fire protection district also is expected to remain the same at 19.11 mills. The police jury last year agreed to lower the millage rate from 19.24 mills to 19.11 mills. That was done due to the sound financial situation at the parish fire department. Finances were better than anticipated in 2008 because of some unexpected revenue during the year.
Voters in the unincorporated areas of Ouachita Parish will decide Saturday whether to renew a 10-year, 19.11 mill property tax to fund operations of the Ouachita Parish Fire Department.
Meanwhile, the police jury will consider levying 8.51 mills for the purpose of maintaining and operating Ouachita Correctional Center. Last year, the police jury levied 8.60 mills. A special tax of 0.59 mills also will be levied under the proposed revenue ordinance for jail repair and renovations. The police jury levied the same 0.59 mills last year.
Ouachita Correctional Center is on track to post a $1.1 million deficit at the end of the current fiscal year. The deficit at OCC has been an issue widely discussed by police jurors throughout the year. The deficit stems from the high number of pretrial detainees and overpopulation at the parish prison. Roughly 60 percent of the inmates at OCC are awaiting trial. The parish is not reimbursed for providing space and care for pretrial detainees.
On another front related to corrections, the police jury will consider levying 2.65 mills to maintain operations at the juvenile detention center. The parish levied the same amount last year. Another 0.30 mills also would be levied under the proposed revenue ordinance for the juvenile detention center's capital outlay fund. The same amount also was levied last year for that purpose.
The proposed revenue ordinance also calls for the parish to levy 2.00 mills for Road Lighting District No. 1. The parish levied the same amount last year after deciding to reduce the millage rate from 4.81 mills to 2.00 mills.
The Mosquito Abatement district's millage rate would be 1.99 mills under the proposed revenue ordinance. The parish levied 1.16 mills last year.