No Statistics + No Plan = No Tax Dollars

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CENTRAL FIRST BLUE bIf you are convinced that the $1.82 million in property taxes Central residents pay to the EBR Sheriff’s Office does not buy Central good enough police protection, and if you are willing to have more of your tax dollars spent to expand the operations of the Central Police Department, contact your Council Members and ask them to vote to hire an Assistant Chief for $43,783 and move into bigger offices for $13,200.  If you want my opinion as to why this would be a mistake, please read on.
Where is the Research?
    No data has been provided to make any logical argument that additional crime protection is needed in Central or that spending my tax dollars in this way would decrease crime.  A good starting point would be crime statistics by category for the incorporated boundaries of Central today, five years ago, and ten years ago.   Central may be the safest city in the country… or maybe not… but please show me that before you spend my tax dollars.  Shouting “Crime is coming!” does not convince me.
Where is the Plan?
    There has been no long-term Public Safety Plan presented to show where this building up of a paid Central Police Department will be in five or ten years.  No ultimate cost per year to the taxpayers has been named.  I am naturally suspicious of any government agency that asks for money without a defined long term plan.  Based on the cost of full Police Departments across the state, Central simply does not have the budget to support a police department.  Have I mentioned that we already pay $1.82 million per year in property taxes to the EBR Sheriff’s Office?
What is the Hurry?
    This funding request came eight days after our new officials took office.  How about those who favor spending tax dollars for this expansion of government first go back and put together a fiscally responsible long term plan that provides crime statistics and trends as well as an analysis of the long term costs to the taxpayers?  Take a month or two, or as long as needed.  Central has not had a paid Police Department for our first nine years, nor did this area have one for the 100 years before that.  Please take some time and do the research.
Where are the Answers?
    Central has built its sound financial base on privatization and on utilizing the Parish-wide services already paid for by our property taxes, including Fire Protection, Waste Collection, Sewerage, and the Sheriff’s Department.  Why would we go against this trend and start expanding our government to provide these services?
    Isn’t this double taxation?  Our $1.82 million in property taxes currently gets us a Sheriff’s Substation, 24 hour dispatch, 24 hour patrols, homicide detectives, burglary detectives, a jail for prisoners, and more.  Why institute a separate manned dispatch and expanded offices?  Aren’t we paying for this already?
Make Your Opinion Known
    I can support a well run and productive VOLUNTEER Central Police force.  I believe the extra neighborhood patrols, traffic calming, and event security has value to this community.  However, if you are asking to commit taxpayer dollars to hire officers and expand operations of the Central Police Department to provide some of the same services we now pay EBRSO to provide, you will have to present a convincing and well researched plan before I could support increasing the size of Central’s government.  
    Finally, I keep hearing that the plan will be explained at the Council meeting.  Too late for all but the 100 who will attend.  The other 26,900 citizens deserve a plan long before the night of the vote.  Agree or disagree, I suggest you each contact your Council Members or show up and voice your opinions at next Tuesday’s Council Meeting at 6PM in the CHS Auditorium.

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