Funding main topic of discussion during Police Jury business meeting

Who is going to pay for what? That would have been a good title if one was required to describe the agenda items discussed by the Jackson Parish Police Jury (JPPJ) during their Tuesday evening business meeting in the Nathaniel Zeno meeting room of JPPJ Administrative Building.

The session began with Anita Waggoner from Chatham expressing her desire to see the trash bins and services along Hwy 148 be returned during the call for public comments. This was followed by Ms. Elanor Ward, who is a grant writer for Affordable Housing projects announcing that applications for housing vouchers through the Pine Belt Community Center had been approved. Ward further detailed that grants that had been first applied for in 2017 was now ready to be released that would up provide up to 15 modular housing units to be located on Bond Street of over 1000 square feet and containing 3 bedrooms and 2 baths. Ward also stated that more housing vouchers were available for Jackson Parish.

JPPJ President Amy Magee then informed fellow representatives Todd Culpepper, Lewis Chatham, John McCarty, Tarneshala Cowans and Regina Rowe along with Secretary Gina Thomas and legal council Darryl Avery that the Jury was still waiting on final directives regarding on how money received from the American Recovery Act (ARA) program could be used. This was followed by her speaking about the DRA grant that had been applied for repaving Gansville Road fter the JPPJ received a letter from Jackson Parish Sheriff Andy Brown that indicated a new prison facility was being planned to be constructed. She further asked Jury members to consider a resolution of support for the project and to consider approving to pay 10% ($73,000) of the estimated $730,000.00 project cost. A comment from legal council Avery that the road was actually considered to be owned by the Town of Jonesboro as result of when the Airport was first built the town had been granted a servitude right of way to access the complex then led to the decision that a cooperative endeavor would have to be entered into with the Town of Jonesboro. 

Discussion then turned to the construction of a model bin site along Hwy 148 and that it looked like the project qualified to be able to use ARA money. This was derived from definition received that if a project had been deferred due to a decrease in tax money then ARA money could be used on that project. 

It was then agreed to move the regularly scheduled monthly meeting that was set for Monday, July 12th to Tuesday, July 13th. The reason was that would agree with the schedule for Mr. Doug Mitchell who had to speak to Jury members about possible reapportionment plans.

Additional discussion was held on:
(1) Getting a bid on a new welcome and announcement sign for the Charles H. Garrett Community Center
(2) Entering into a Cooperative Endeavor with Ward 2 Fire District for ditch dirt
(3) Repairs on Keppler Creek Road
(4) Repairs on street that runs alongside old Hodge Elementary School site
(5) Expansion at the landfill and if ARA money could be used
(6) How rounds of garbage boom trucks should be scheduled in order to save costs
(7) Authorization to take bids for sale of surplus items. 

Discussion and recommendations regarding appointments to several boards and committees then took place followed by Mr. Paul Riley providing an update on the Hospital Drainage Project.  Riley also for the Police Jury to authorize a new contract with his company that would save roughly $17,000.00.

President Magee then related her agreement to the request made by Director Floyd Knox of the Jackson Parish Library. Knox had requested that the Jury vote during their next meeting whether or not to call for a special election about  funds being taken from the Library and giving it to the Solid Waste Department citing it wasn’t fair to keep the Library in limbo. He additionally asked that if the funds were taken that it be a one time event and not something that could be continually done. 

This led to jury member Todd Culpepper restating his objection from a month ago to having an election needed to be called but instead other funding options that look to be available should be considered. Culpepper further explained that such an action would lead to a negative domino effect of every time one agency had surplus funds.

“If this is done, then it will set a precedent be done again and again and again,” said Culpepper. “Agencies are going to end up making bad spending decisions instead of practicing good financial stewardship as the Library has done due to the fear that funds would be taken and moved somewhere else.”


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