NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) — Orleans Parish Sheriff Susan Hutson wants to double one of the taxes dedicated to the department, and she needs voters to agree.

She says it will help her office deal with their consent decree. She says she needs a lot more money to make the Orleans Parish Prison safe.

The sheriff is seeking to replace a 2.8 mil tax with a 5.5 mil tax. In other words, if the owner of a $250,000 home is currently paying about $40 a year in property taxes, then it would increase to $87.

In total, this would add about $12 million to the sheriff’s office budget.

“We can help retain people, we can make sure the courts are open we can make sure justice is served and that public safety is served,” said Sheriff Hutson.

She says the bulk of the money would go toward pay increases for staff, but would also help with equipment and training as well as repairs to the jail.

“When I tell you that this jail has to be fixed, the structure has to be fixed. It has to be fixed. We cannot kick that down the road. We cannot wait,” said Sheriff Hutson.

But, not everyone is on board. Bruce Reilly is an Orleans Parish resident who voted early.

“I voted no,” said Reilly.

He says although he just rents in the parish and doesn’t own property, he will still feel the sting.

“Most landlords would pass it along to their renters, so any time there’s an addition to their taxes a lot of us feel it no matter whether we own it or rent it, and the fact that most people are renters probably proves they can’t afford any extra money,” said Reilly.

But, the sheriff says this, “the re-upping of that current millage has to happen.”

The proposed millage will be on the April 29th ballot. You can vote early now through Saturday, April 22nd.

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