Zachary police chief reports on 2012 crime rates

Crime in Zachary rose slightly by some measures and fell by others during 2012, according to a report Police Chief David McDavid delivered to the City Council Tuesday.

Larceny thefts and burglaries increased slightly, from 258 thefts and 10 burglaries in 2011 to 368 and 26 in 2012, respectively.

Drug arrests also went up, from 92 to 99. There were 17 more assaults in 2012 for a total of 127. Four rapes occurred in 2012 and one in 2011. Overall, arrests of adults increased from 810 to 1,003.

“That’s the price of growth,” Mayor David Amrhein said.

However, the city also saw a decrease in drunken driving arrests, from 53 to 39. There was one homicide in 2011 and none in 2012. Robberies dropped from four in 2011 to none in 2012.

Other matters before the council included:

ROAD IMPROVEMENTS: The council discussed selling $10 million in revenue bonds and paying off the debt with road tax money for the next 17 years. The funds would be used for road improvement projects.

The half-cent sales tax is imposed by the state, and municipalities are required to spend the money in designated ways for road improvements, maintenance and beautification, city attorney John Hopewell said. The 17-year figure comes from the date of the expiration of the tax, he explained.

The mayor said that priorities would be traffic safety and improvements to intersections.

He cited Church Street in front of LeBlanc’s Supermarket and the intersection of La. 64 and La. 964 (Old Scenic Highway) as particular problem areas. Many of the roads were identified on Zachary’s land use plan as the next streets that should be improved, the mayor said.

Since voters agreed to amend the home rule charter in the October 2012 election, issuing bonds does not require voter approval.

SEWER BIDS: The council voted unanimously to begin the bidding process for the third contract in the city’s ongoing sewer improvement project. This part will be the largest yet, the mayor said. It includes the Rollins Road and Fennwood areas.

The state Department of Environmental Quality loaned the city $9.3 million to pay for the upgrades, a loan which Zachary will repay at an interest rate of 0.95 percent over 22 years.

PAY ADJUSTMENT: Council members agreed to wait until their next meeting to resolve a discrepancy between an old city ordinance and the revised home-rule charter approved in 2010 that caused the mayor to be overpaid $3,200.

The mayor has said he will repay the city through payroll deduction.