Five-parish millage renewal for juvenile detention center on April 27 ballot

Officials in the 21st and 22nd Judicial Districts are asking the public vote to renew a five-parish tax millage to keep a juvenile detention center operating. The millage renewal is for the Florida Parishes Juvenile Justice District on April 27.

The millage is the primary funding source of the Florida Parishes Juvenile Justice District and its detention center.

The millage passed 10 years ago and is up for renewal for another 10 years. It serves Livingston, Tangipahoa, St. Helena, Washington and St. Tammany parishes.

“In each of those parishes, the voters pay a millage, and for that, we have the Florida Parishes Detention Center,” said Denham Springs Marshal Joe Shumate. “When we have a juvenile who has to be placed in detention, we have somewhere to place them.”

The center, located in Covington, serves as a holding facility for juveniles awaiting entry into the juvenile system, according to Shumate.

Shumate says he works at the facility a couple of times every month. Without the renewal, taxpayers could be paying more money to house juveniles in other areas when transportation costs are factored in. Sending one juvenile elsewhere could cost around $300 per day.

“This is actually saving each jurisdiction money versus not having this,” Shumate says. “This is not something we’d like to have, it’s something we’ve got to have. If we don’t, it’s going to cost the taxpayers a whole lot more money.”

Because the item is a renewal of an existing millage, nobody’s tax rate will go up.

The average homeowner will pay $16.30 per year, which supports the operation of the detention center.

To read more about the renewal, click here.

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