St. Charles approves tax for sheriff

Published 12:00 am Thursday, July 21, 2005


Staff Reporter

HAHNVILLE — A 3.75-mill tax generating $2.7 million was adopted by the community on July 16 to raise salaries for St. Charles Parish law enforcement.

After extensive planning for the upcoming election, St. Charles Parish Sheriff’s Office celebrates a winning vote approving the 3.75-mill tax, with 62 percent voting yes.

“I would like to personally thank the public for the overwhelming vote of confidence in what we do,” said St. Charles Parish Sheriff Greg Champagne. “Our officers are invigorated, because often times they do not feel appreciated and now they see the public recognizes the value of the service we offer. We are just so happy.”

Champagne said they have been working for months

gathering information and facts to let the public know where there money will be going.

“We showed where every dollar went,” he said. “We spoke to 15 different groups. I was on the public access channel for the community to see and on the internet. I think the community was willing to pay a little more, because we laid everything out and were honest.”

St. Charles Parish Sheriff’s Office have lost 91 employees since January 2004 for higher paying jobs with other agencies and private industry, which is 268 years of combined law enforcement experience.

The result has left St. Charles Parish somewhat as a training ground for higher paying agencies and industry.

“We want to keep employees we have,” he said. “It has been 25 years since voters approved a tax propositions for law enforcement. Now, our employees are so happy. They feel appreciated.”

The revenue from the raise in mill tax will increase deputy pay from $26,084 a year to $30,140 a year, which is an 18 percent increase, making St. Charles Parish Sheriff’s Office pay more competitive with surrounding agencies, according to Public Information Officer Capt. Pat Yoes of the St. Charles Parish Sheriff’s Office.

Now, for every hundred dollars in property tax a homeowner pays, the millage will increase that amount by $3.27 in property tax; meaning if a home is assessed at or below $75,000, there is no change. If assessed at $100,000, $9.38 more will be paid per year. If assessed at $150,000, $28.13 more will be paid per year and if assessed at $200,000, $46.88 more will be paid per year, according to Yoes.

The St. Charles Parish Sheriff’s Office is proud of successes including a new jail, without raising taxes, upgraded radio system, computerization of department, victim assistance, TRIAD Senior Program, college degree program, POST Training Academy and cooperative agreements with safe schools, DARE, DEA Task Force, FBI Terrorism Task Force and US Marshal Task Force.

“We work hard and the public recognizes it,” Champagne said. “This allows us to continue the quality of life we have in St. Charles Parish.”