Sheriff will not push for new taxes

Published 9:39 am Thursday, July 10, 2014

Washington Parish Sheriff Randy “Country” Seal is keeping the same 10.96 millage rate for 2014 tax year as the previous year.

Washington Parish Assessor Jimbo Stevenson recently posted on the assessor’s website a notice of a public meeting to discuss increasing millages without voter approval. That meeting was to be held Tuesday at the Sheriff’s Office, but nobody chose to meet with Seal to discuss the issue. Still, despite the lack of public objection, Seal said he will not push for extra millages.

“Taxpayers will not pay a penny more to the sheriff than they paid last year,” Seal said Tuesday in a meeting in his office.

Seal said the 10.96 mills should bring in $1,096,000.

“We need more money, but that’s all we can get by law,” Seal said. “We had to make $1 million worth of cuts about two months ago. We’re having to get old, worn out vehicles from other sheriff’s offices from across the state cause ours are worn out. “

Seal, who is in his first term as sheriff, said the criminal element shouldn’t get the wrong idea.

“We didn’t get this way over night,” Seal said. “Don’t correlate because we have financial problems there will be a lack of law enforcement. That is not going to happen.”

Seal said sheriffs in Washington Parish are required by law to have balanced budgets.

“(The sheriff) is responsible personally for any debt the Sheriff’s Office incurs,” Seal said. “We’re not raising any new tax. There can be no new tax levied on the people without a vote by the people. If there is any new revenue, it will come in the form of new people being added to the tax rolls.”