By Matt Davis, The Lens staff writer
A little-scrutinized but powerful government body is holding a special meeting Wednesday morning to discuss the tax rate it charges city property owners.
The notice from the Orleans Parish Law Enforcement District provides scant information on the purpose of the meeting, though it says this will be an “important meeting” and urges all interested parties to attend.
The district is controlled by one person: Sheriff Marlin Gusman.
The notice said he will “consider and take action with respect to levying the millage required for the payment of General Obligation Bonds…”
The district now taxes 2.9 mills, out of a total of 147.58 mills in property taxes levied by all taxing bodies. Based on last year’s total property value, one mill generated $2.6 million, so the 2.9 mills is worth $7.5 million to the Law Enforcement District.
The Law Enforcement District effectively works as Orleans Parish Sheriff Marlin Gusman’s piggy bank for construction projects such as his new jail.
The district also finances projects for other criminal-justice operations in New Orleans. For instance, millions of dollars are sitting in the district’s coffers for things such as courthouse repairs and an addition to the district attorney’s building.
Gusman used the last, 10-minute meeting of the district to draw attention to the city’s failure to spend the capital-projects money that has sat in the district’s fund for more than a decade.
The meeting will take place at 11 a.m. Wednesday at the Sheriff’s Office, 819 S. Broad Street.