At the final meeting of the year of the Jackson Parish Police Jury which was held at the Charles H. Garrett Community Center this past Monday evening, Amy Magee was chosen as President and Tarneshala “Niki” Cowans was named Vice President for 2021 by unanimous acclaim. Magee, the long-time District 3 representative, will serve as President for a second consecutive year while Cowans, who represents District 5, becomes a top official in her first term.
The election of next year’s officers culminated a loaded agenda that included the amending of the 2020 budget and adoption of the 2021 budget as well as taking action on recommendations regarding how several roads in the parish road system will be now be classified.
The session with juror members Todd Culpepper (District 1), Lewis Chatham (District 2), Magee, John McCarty (District 4), Cowans and Lynn Treadway (District 7) in attendance began with a pair of Public Hearings. District 6 representative Regina Rowe was absent.
Public Hearing #1: The first hearing was held to allow the public to make comments on a pair of ordinances regarding the proposed amending of the current annual operating budget that will expire on December 31st, 2020 and the adoption of the budget for 2021 that will begin on January 1st, 2021. No comments were expressed during the allotted time leading to President Amy Magee calling for a conclusion.
Public Hearing #2: The second hearing was in regard to the Police Jury adjusting where parish maintenance would end on certain roads or their removal from the current parish road system. The new designation was result of an independent auditor’s definition of a driveway being where a roadway had a beginning and end on one property.
While there was no public comment stated during the allotted time given a letter from Mr. John Everett was read by Juror President Amy Magee in protest of having a portion of the road removed from parish maintenance responsibilities.
Passing of Ordinances: As soon as the regular scheduled December meeting began the first order of business was adopt the two Ordinances regarding the amending and adoption of the year 2020 and 2021 budgets. A roll call vote was taken that was passed by unanimous decision.
Parish roadway designations: Jury members then were called on to approve designated action on the roadways listed below by roll call vote which saw each approved.
- Ironwood Road: adjust parish maintenance to end at the Joyce Harvey property line
- Burney Road: adjust parish maintenance to end at the 181 Burney Road mailbox
- Culpepper Road: adjust parish maintenance to end at the John Everett property line
- Branch Creek Road: remove from the Parish Road System
- Tree Lane: remove from the Parish Road System
- Bill Cole Loop: remove the portion of the road that is south of the intersection of Jade Road from the Parish Road System.
- Jade Road: extend the road to include the east-west portion of Bill Cole Loop to the intersection with Harris
- Bryant Road: adjust parish maintenance to end at the 183 Bryant Road mailbox.
Operation Committee Recommendations: After the adoptions of minutes from the November 9th and December 7th general meetings total agreement other than on Item #1, which was tabled for further discussion, was then given to act on the recommendation of the Operations Committee to hold a public hearing in regard to the following.
- Aberdon Road: adjust parish maintenance to end at 168 Aberdon (TABLED)
- Wiliiam Shows Road: adjust parish maintenance to end at the Westbook property line
- Choctaw Road: adjust parish maintenance to end at the Robert Moore property line
- McKeaver Road: hear comments on how the road serves the public
- Springfield Road: adjust parish maintenance to end at the Winter’s property line
- Clair Road: hear comments on how the road serves the public
- Canard Road: adjust parish maintenance to end after the second mailbox
- Hire Riley Company for the 2021 Road Projects
Finance Committee Recommendations: Approval on the two recommendations of the Finance Committee was next up for discussion with the Jury agreeing to adopt the proposed 2021 Jackson Parish Library Budget as presented. The recommendation to institute a $25.00 permit fee at the Solid Waste Station for anyone regardless of residential or commercial usage was tabled at the request of Solid Waste Department Superintendent Robin Session who asked for more time to determine what exact charges would be.
- Road – Superintendent Jody Stuckey commented that for the first time his department had absolutely no emergency call outs for repairs.
- Solid Waste – Superintendent Robin Session reported on the status of tonnage processed at the Solid Waste station and speculated future work.
- Office of Emergency Preparedness – Director Mark Treadway informed the board that he would be stepping down as director after the first of the year and gave an update on the COVID-19 vaccination program that is expected to begin in the parish as soon as official numbers of how much is needed can be determined.
- Maintenance – No report given.
- Financial – Ms. Gina Thomas discussed the difference in the budget vs actual amounts used.
- Engineering – Mr. Paul Riley stated that he is preparing information to be presented regarding the parish road system.
- Adoption of the amended 2021-23 Road Priority lists for Blacktop Minor and Overlay
- Clarification of previous actions from the November 9th Regular Meeting
- George Gryder approved to continue his expired term on the District 2 Fire District Board. New term is a 2-year period ending 12/31/2022.
- Accept the resignation of Jay Mallard from the Watershed District Board. No replacement was nominated.
- Authorize Darrell Avery to research and present a recommendation regarding the Subdivision Ordinance
- Adopting a resolution in support of rural broadband. Unanimously approved by roll call vote.
- Suspend the Operations Manager position until May 2021.
- Acceptance of the 2021 Road and Solid Waste Material Bids for January 1, 2021 through December 31, 2021
- Approval of the amended 2020 and Proposed 2021 budget for the North Louisiana Criminalistics Laboratory Commission.
- Approval of the 2021 Employee Pay Schedule.
- Approval to re-locate all Administrative personnel to the Administrative Building.
- Adoption of the Community Center Refund Payment Policy
- Adoption by unanimous roll call vote of a resolution ordering and calling a special election to authorize the levying of a 1% sales and use tax.
- Discussion of correspondence from Baton Rouge legislature in regard to the Jackson Parish Library’s desire to emancipate from the Police Jury’s control of Library finances.
Final comments: The meeting was closed following each Juror expressing the hope for all to have a Merry Christmas and to keep District 6 Representative Regina Rowe and her son Christopher Kohler in prayers and considerations during his continued fight with Leukemia.