Police Jury allocates ARP funds and upholds 2021 tax assessment

To sum it up, the regularly scheduled monthly meeting of the Jackson Parish Police Jury (JPPJ) on Monday evening should have been videotaped for future boards to view. Not because of what was discussed but instead of the way the large agenda that was packed with items of importance and lended promise to a long meeting was handled with efficiency and tact.

A large throng of interested bystanders filed into the Charles H. Garrett Community Center along with JPPJ board members Todd Culpepper, Lewis Chatham, John McCarty, Amy Magee (President), Tarneshela “Niki” Cowans, Regina Rowe and Lynn Treadway for the 5:30pm session. Also in attendance was JPPJ Secretary/Treasurer Gina Thomas, Legal Council Darrell Avery, Parish engineer Paul Riley, various Department Heads and special guest speaker Jackson Parish Tax Assessor, Glen Kirkland who opened the meeting by presenting the 2021 tax assessment for the parish.

2021 Tax Assessment upheld and affirmed: Kirkland informed the board that overall the assessed value of the tax base for the year of 2021 showed an overall decrease of 1.2% from the prior year. As explained through detailed graphics (shown below) this was primarily due to the continued loss of money from the oil and gas industry and related public service companies, which offset a growth in real estate and personal property. Kirkland also showed that there was a total of 120 new improvements for the year that included: 29 site’s built, 72 mobile home locations and 19 miscellaneous addtions. Upon the completion of his reportthe board unanimously agreed to uphold and affirm the report by roll call vote. 

Actual assessed values of four major tax base areas for 2021.

Description Dollar Value % Change
Real Estate 68,525,460.00 up 6.7%
Personal Property 32,451,510.00 up 3.0%
Oil & Gas 57,041,850.00 down 6.3%
Public Service 65,865,650.00 down 3.7%

American Rescue Plan (ARP) money allocated: Almost half of the $1.5 million dollars received by the JPPJ through the American Rescue Plan was approved to be allocated for specific payout items while the remaining amount was transfered to the general fund. Exact areas of expenditures were identified as technology upgrades, HVAC system for the Courthouse and Hazard Pay adjustments for parish employees for work provided during the hurricanes of last year. Specifically these areas are identified as:
Technology Upgrades: Finance/Payroll computer software, updated computer hardware
HVAC system for Courthouse: Replacement of Chiller #1 and Air Handling unites #1,#2 and #3.
Hazard Pay adjustment: $2.00 per hour increase for work provided by parish employees during Hurricane’s.

Specific areas and ARP dollar amounts allocated:

Area of Allocation Dollar Amount
Technology Upgrades 250,000.00
HVAC system for Courthouse 412,000.00
total Hazard Pay Adjustments 92,900.00
Total Amount of Money Allocated: $754,900.00

Remainder of ARP funds transferred to General Fund: The remaining $745,100.00 of the ARP money received was than approved to be transferred to the General Fund for revenue loss due to the COVID pandemic. Of this, $200,000.00 was allocated for the construction of four (4) solid waste, gravel based, bin sites with fencing across the parish. Labor and equipment for the construction of these sites will be provided by the JPPJ Road Department with the materials being purchased through the Solid Waste Fund. The location of these sites are designated as: Hwy 148 (Clay Hilltop), Dorsey Shop Road, Walker Road and Zoar Road

Department Head Reports: (from actions taken during the month of August)

Road – Jody Stuckey: Total spent on emergency call-outs amounted to $5,081.13. Major Asphalt repairs were performed on Sandy Ridge Road and Lakeshore Drive. No special requests or board projects on calendar other than routine maintenance and currently mixing ash with ditch dirt to build up bottom of Sugar Creek Road.
Solid Waste – Robin Session: Tonage continued to be low as has been the case for the last several months.
Engineering – Paul Riley: No current projects at hand. Future plans for road programs are being developed.

mr johnHAPPY BIRTHDAY! He wanted to keep it quiet, but fellow jury members would have no part of it as they announced that District 4 representative, Mr. John McCarty, had recently celebrated his 80th birthday. Congratulations were offered all around to the long time public servant, who is a past Police Jury President and most recently orchestrated and organized the Jackson Parish Clean Up Day that was held several weeks ago.

Parish Boards appointments/resignations accepted: Recommendations to accept appointments and resignations from several various boards and commission’s were then presented. Adjustments made are as follows:
Sparta Groundwater Commission: Re-appointment of JPPJ representative, Regina Rowe
Tourism Board: Acceptance of resignation of Dawn Slezak and appointment of Yumeka Washington to fill in for remainder of term ending 12/31/2021. Re-appointment of Kelly Spangler for 2-year term ending 12/31/2022.
Watershed Board: Accept the resignation of Burt Brown
Jonesboro Fire Board: Appointment of Wayne Anderson
Museum Board: Appointment of Melinda Garrett for 3-year term ending 12/31/2023.

In further action relating to the Museum Board, Ordinance #01-0913-2021 was adopted to amend Ordinance 03-0409-2007 that allowed for the reduction of the number of directors from ten to seven. In final action before adjournment the contract with Volkert Inc for debris monitoring services was extended and a Request for Proposal (RFP) for pre-disaster debris hauling services was approved to be extended. Also the sign in front of the Charles H. Garrett Community Center that was destroyed last year during Hurricane Delta was declared non-salvagable and authorized to be disposed of. 

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