Mayor, Sheriff And City Council Discuss May 2 Ballot Measure
NEW ORLEANS – Mayor Mitch Landrieu joined Orleans Parish Sheriff Marlin Gusman and members of the New Orleans City Council yesterday to remind residents to vote on Saturday, May 2, 2015, in the upcoming special election to decide two important ballot measures.
One ballot measure asks voters to repurpose an existing millage so that the Orleans Parish Sheriff’s Office can use the funds for the operation, maintenance and upkeep of jails and related facilities. The other ballot measure asks voters to pass a new millage to increase funding for the city’s public library system.
“I will vote for these measures because both are critical to the future of our great city,” said Mayor Landrieu. “Repurposing the law enforcement millage does not raise taxes; it repurposes an existing millage so we can operate and maintain our jails. Without this measure, the City will be forced to slash essential services like public safety, street repairs and parks and recreations to fund consent decree requirements. I will also vote to pass a new millage that would help our public library system grow, expand its hours and provide more resources to the community. Without it, residents would see cutbacks to public library hours and services, possibly even branch closures. As we look toward our tricentennial in 2018, both of these ballot measures will help us build a better, stronger New Orleans for all who call this extraordinary place home.”
City Council President Stacy Head said, “I support the New Orleans Public Library millage proposition and encourage all citizens to exercise their right to vote this Saturday, May 2. The New Orleans Public Library system provides equal access to everyone in our community for information, education and entertainment, and is an important resource for those without home computer or Internet access.”
District A Councilmember Susan Guidry said, “I stand with Mayor Landrieu in support of these ballot measures that will help us continue to rebuild a stronger and safer city, where government respects the value of our tax dollars and uses them wisely. The Law Enforcement District millage proposal will direct much-needed funding to operations of the jail and the implementation of consent decree reforms without raising the current millage. I encourage the citizens of New Orleans to learn more about these ballot initiatives and to vote on May 2 to make their voices heard.”
District B Councilmember LaToya Cantrell said, “Residents have a chance to make a huge decision on May 2nd by voting to improve funding for our public libraries. The library’s resources are essential to our fellow citizen’s quality of life. The ongoing public education and access to information that libraries provide are at the forefront of improving our city, and we need to be sure to support our libraries.”
District D Councilmember Jared Brossett said, “Please go out to the polls and vote on these important millage matters. Two major questions will be answered: will we have a first-rate library system and will we be able to use existing millage funds to help cover our multimillion-dollar sheriff’s consent decree obligations or will we need to cut essential services?”
District E Councilmember James A. Gray II said, “We expect great things from our children and need to give them great resources. Libraries are one of the necessary resources we need to provide.”
Summary Of Measures On The May 2 Ballot:
The Law Enforcement District Proposition
This proposition allows the City of New Orleans to pay for the Orleans Parish Sheriff’s Office consent decree without raising taxes or cutting services.
This proposition will help the City pay for the consent decree with an existing millage – the 2.8 Law Enforcement District millage. Under current law, this revenue can only be spent to build things, but the City needs money to pay for operations at the jail.
With the passage of this proposition, the City will not collect any new taxes. Rather, the City will have the flexibility to spend tax dollars more wisely.
With its passage, as much as $8 million will be available in future years to pay for new court-ordered mental health treatment and medical care at the jail. However, if this proposition does not pass, the City still has to pay the bill. To pay for it, the City would have to cut city services.
Orleans Parish Sheriff Marlin Gusman said, "Approving this change in the use of the existing millage will allow the Sheriff's Office to continue the progress in recruitment and retention; to help with the maintenance and operations of our new modern facility; to continue our education and re-entry programs; and to continue with improvements in medical and mental health care for the inmates in our care and custody. Voters can embrace this progress by authorizing a change in the use of the funds. These funds are desperately needed and will not increase taxes."
Public Library Proposition
This proposition increases the current millage by 2.5 mills for 25 years to support operations and maintenance of the entire library system. The price for the total millage on the average home in New Orleans will be less than $11.00 per month. It is also homestead exempt, meaning the first $75,000 of assessment is tax-free.
With the funding from the new millage, the public library in New Orleans will be open more days and hours than ever before with increased investments in its permanent collection, innovative programs and state-of-the-art technology. And, the Nora Navra Library in the 7th Ward will be re-opened.
If the proposed millage fails, the library system will likely face cutbacks to library hours and services and possibly even complete branch closures.
All local precincts are open on Election Day, Saturday, May 2, 2015, from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.