BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - A proposed tax to provide a pay increase to Baton Rouge police officers was pulled at Wednesday's Metro Council meeting.
Councilman Matt Watson, the author of the proposed tax, moved to withdraw it during the public hearing period for the agenda item. With its withdrawal, the vote will not go to the voters.
Watson said a salary increase for BRPD was important, but a tax increase is not the method to get it done.
Watson proposed the 10-year, 0.87 mill property tax in November in an effort to attract new recruits to BRPD and curb crime. The 8-mil plan would have raise the pay for new recruits from about $32,900 to $40,800 a year, generating roughly $15 million for the department, and for an average home valued at $200,000 — homeowners would have paid about $160 a year to fund the tax.
The council discussed several other items at the meeting.
There is an amendment to a resolution to extend the temporary hardship waiver regarding housing to people in East Baton Rouge Parish whose homes were damaged in the August 2016 floods. The amendment extends the waiver until May 15.
There is a resolution to urge the Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD) to address the reoccurring traffic backups and to assist in remedying the vehicle "gridlock" at the I-110 Airport-Harding Boulevard exit.
The new Baton Rouge police chief is authorizing the mayor-president to accept a grant to increase the budget for the Targeted Violent Criminal Program 2016 by nearly $7,000. The funds will be used to purchase equipment for BRPD to support the efforts of the Targeted Violent Criminal Program, which focuses on habitual offenders. The program has been extended to June 30. The grant is 100 percent federally funded with no match required.
Below are several items of interest that are scheduled to be introduced at the meeting.
- There is a proposed change to the penalties for possession of marijuana.
- A proposal seeks to amend an ordinance to require proof of ID at hotels and motels as a way to deter drug and prostitution criminal activity at those locations.
- There is a proposal to change the penalties for people with lots of junk or trash in their yard.
- A proposal will be introduced to appropriate $40,000 to conduct a national search for a new director for the Baton Rouge Metro Airport.
- A proposal will be introduced for the mayor-president to accept a grant from the US Department of Justice/Office for Victims of Crime. The three-year, $750,000 grant aimed to strengthen the bond between police and the community. The grant is 100 percent federally funded with no match required.
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