Read the The Tuesday Count. New edition available now!

St. Tammany Parish, Louisiana

From Ballotpedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Saint Tammany Parish, Louisiana is one of 64 parishes in Louisiana. A parish, in Louisiana, is the equivalent of a county in other states. The parish seat is Covington. As of 2000, the population of the parish was 191,268. In 2008, the parish budget was $83.5 million.

Website evaluation

See also: Evaluation of Louisiana parish websites
Grade2.pngB-
Budget
{{{1}}}
Meetings Y
600px-Yes check.png
Elected Officials Y
600px-Yes check.png
Administrative Officials Y
600px-Yes check.png
Permits, zoning Y
600px-Yes check.png
Audits
{{{1}}}
Contracts P
Partial.png
Lobbying N
600px-Red x.png
Public records N
600px-Red x.png
Local taxes
{{{1}}}
County websitesGuide.png
Transparency grading process


The good

  • An inspection of the website finds that it includes a wealth of information on parish council members.[1]
  • Administrative officials and phone numbers are listed.[2]
  • Recent council meeting videos can be viewed in Windows Media format.[3]
  • Council agendas are available dating to 2004.[4]
  • Zoning information is available online, along with building permits.[5][6]
  • Budget is available online.[7]
  • Annual financial reports containing audits are posted online.[8]
  • Information on taxes and how they are used in the local budget are provided.[9]
  • Current bids are posted online, but not full disclosure of parish contracts.[10]

The bad

Property tax assessments

Tax assessor Patricia Schwarz Core said in early January 2009 that 15,000 residents had requested a formal review of their 2008 revaluations, compared with 500 in a typical revaluation.[11]

Public records

Officials in St. Tammany complained in spring 2009 that they were being "inundated" with public records requests." Kelly Rabalais of the St. Tammany Parish Executive Council sent an April 17 letter to a local newspaper, CityBusiness, saying that records requested by the local newspaper are "burdensome and cannot be conducted during my normal working hours without disrupting my daily job duties, therefore I will have to conduct the review after hours." CityBusiness wanted information about council expenditures. Rabalais estimated that retrieving the records would cost $1,153.40. Later, the records were produced at an actual cost of $32.00.

St. Tammany spokesperson Suzanne Parsons-Stymiest complained that the CityBusiness request "came right after one of the TV stations came to us on a fishing expedition and requested every e-mail to and from the parish president for a year ... It took us over 100 hours just to figure out how many there were to tell them how much it would cost."[12]

External links

References

  1. Parish council members
  2. Council Administration
  3. Council Meetings
  4. Council Agendas
  5. Parish Zoning
  6. Permits and Regulatory
  7. Finance
  8. Audits
  9. Taxes
  10. Purchasing Bids
  11. Wall Street Journal, "Calls Grow to Cap Property Taxes," January 5, 2009
  12. New Orleans City Business, "Public records requests flood local governments," May 11, 2009