Crime committee meets for last time

Monday, October 24, 2011 - 10:16pm

For the past two months, the Metro Council Crime Committee has met every-other week with the goal of reducing the crime in East Baton Rouge Parish. Monday's meeting saw progress with the Metro Council Crime Committee approving a priority list, to be viewed by the full Metro Council Wednesday.

All those present voted yes for the list, except Mayor Kip Holden, who refused to cast a vote, saying the operational cost would be too much.

"A bond issue is not meant for operational expenses," Hold said. "It's meant to build things and not pay salaries and operate day-to-day."

Building things is exactly what's on the agenda. Their priorities include a new parish prison, a new juvenile detention complex, and a new public safety complex. All the new facilities are attempts to curb crime in the long run, but with a price tag of $300 million.

"It took something uprecedented," said Trae Welch, who chairs the committee. "We've had unprecedented crime we have to do something about, unprecedented truancy, We've got to do something about."

Everyone on the committee -- including the mayor -- agreed that the capital projects would help reduce crime in the parish. The mayor's objections are because he said agencies will likely look for additional employees to staff the facilities, adding to the recurring costs.

"What was done tonight did not take into consideration for the long run," Holden said. "How many other things that will have to be paid out of the money they're asking the public to pay for the next 30 years."

The Metro Council will work on details of how to pay for these projects. What's likely is early next year voters will have the final say, with the items appearing on a ballot.

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