Publisher: Choose solutions on Dec. 8 ballot

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Parishwide mental health treatment center tax: YES

I supported this solution two years ago, and like our traffic, the problem has not gone away. This center addresses a need in our community that can save lives, save time for law enforcement and ultimately save money. The Bridge Center for Hope will be a respite center, a first stop where first responders can bring those who are having a mental health crisis or are dealing with substance abuse and need to be assessed and stabilized. It’s an admirable alternative to taking them to the parish prison, where they sometimes stay for weeks or months (which is very costly) or to a hospital emergency room, where the officer must remain with them for hours.

The proposition is for a 10-year, 1.5-mill property tax that’s estimated to generate $6.1 million a year for the crisis stabilization center. The plan projects taxpayer savings of some $55 million over the next 10 years in incarceration and health care costs.

For a $200,000 home, the cost would be $1.50 a month. This center is the right way to handle our family members, neighbors and citizens in such situations—and solves a serious problem that won’t go away.

District Attorney Hillar Moore, Sheriff Sid Gautreaux, Coroner Beau Clark and Capital Area Human Services Executive Director Jan Kasofsky see this issue first hand and all support this initiative. I join with them.

Phillip LaFargue