60-year-old property tax up for renewal could benefit police

60-year-old property tax up for renewal could benefit police

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Often, we talk about the selfless dedication that goes into being a Baton Rouge police officer, but it's easy to forget that work costs money.

In two days, Baton Rouge voters will have the option to renew a 60-year-old tax that partially funds the department.

"We need those monies to come in so we can continue to provide services," said Chief Murphy Paul.

About 1.7 million to be exact. It comes directly from a property tax that's part of the over $90 million Baton Rouge Police Department budget.

Chief Paul says this tax, nicknamed the 3-platoon tax, was first enacted in the late 1950s and residents have been paying ever since. Recently, the Louisiana Auditor's Office challenged the tax collection, prompting the need to go to the ballot box.

"Right around 1970 there were some changes in the constitution and the Louisiana Auditor's Office believes that because of that change that it should go to a vote by the people," the chief explained.

City leaders say if passed, the property tax would be in place for ten years. For a home valued at $50,000, the owner would pay $4.35 per year, while the owner of a $500,000 home would pay $43.50 a year.

"It will have an impact. Obviously, if I lose $1.7 million out of my budget, then I would have to make some significant adjustments which could have an impact on services," Paul said.

The chief also says a portion of that tax pays several officers' salaries and right now, they're looking to fill about 35 new seats. Police department leaders say they're looking to make the recruitment process more interactive. BRPD recently launched the website, geauxbrpd.com to do just that. It allows those interested in working for the department to learn more about the application process, the 21-week training academy, have a one-on-one conversation with new recruits, and take a practice test.

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