Vote to fund juvenile detention center

Published 7:13 am Saturday, April 9, 2016

This Saturday, don’t forget to take a few minutes and vote on the millage continuation for the Florida Parishes Juvenile Detention Center.

In a year highlighted by some colorful presidential contenders, we’re happy to report that Saturday’s election is not at all polarizing or contentious. In fact, the issue seems to have brought together parish Democrat and Republican groups — both are in favor of continuing the tax. In addition, members of every major local government body, including the parish council, the Bogalusa city council and the school district boards, have voiced support for the measure.

There are several reasons for this widespread agreement, including convenience, economics and jobs.

A first problem is that youth — some of whom may be accused of quite serious crimes — cannot by law be kept with adults. There is nowhere in our parish to keep these kids, and the juvenile detention center is a safe, nearby facility that is convenient for parents, law enforcement and officers of the court.

In addition, by all reports, the kids who are kept there have access to education, medical care and are kept in a safe, decent environment. According to the facility, they housed 748 youths in 2015. Considering there are only 133 beds, it seems like the facility is well-used.

In addition, the economics of a facility in our own backyard make sense. Since the facility is supported by five parishes based on per capita income, our parish pays much less (we’re second-to-last) for the facility without any limits to the number of juveniles we can send there. So, we’re getting a good, secure facility at a discounted rate.

Finally, there are the jobs. The facility employs nearly 100 people.

How much does all this cost the average homeowner? According to the facility, the average homeowner in the entire five-parish area pays $16.30 per year.

Taken all together, a “yes” vote seems like a good deal.