New year in a New Location

Jury holds first meeting in annex

The Webster Parish Police Jury held not only its first meeting of the year Tuesday morning, but also the first meeting in its new facilities in the Webster Parish Courthouse Annex.

Formerly the Regions Bank building, the annex now features a modern meeting room, a comfortable conference room, and spacious office areas.

Jury President Jim Bonsall addressed the audience regarding the new facility as the meeting came to order.

“I’m proud of this facility,” he said. “This has been a long time coming. The jury has worked hard for several years to get this, and I’m proud for y’all to be here on our first meeting day.”

The meeting progressed smoothly, with no objections on any items and minimal discussion.

Bonsall was re-elected president for 2018, and juror Vera Davidson was re-elected vice president. Ronda Carnahan and Lisa Balkom were also re-appointed to secretary treasurer and assistant secretary treasurer, respectively.

“Last year there was some disagreement about president and vice president,” Bonsall said. “This year I’m proud that the vote was unanimous. I appreciate that, and I promise to do what I need to do to make this run smoothly. Mostly that happens when I ask for help, and people are always eager to help, which I appreciate.”

Several other start-of-the-year measures were routinely adopted. The 2018 budget, having already been adopted in December 2017, was adopted again with actual brought-forward figures. The 2017 audits of financials for the police jury and office of community services were approved.

Mary Whittaker, who has announced her resignation from the position of director of the office of community services, was appointed as interim director until a replacement can be found, per her agreement.

The board also approved action relative to the Percy Burns Road Bridge with the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development. This action includes submitting a design waiver to permit the building of a crown rather than a bank to accommodate for a slight curve.

The jury’s closing comments returned to the topic of the new facility as the meeting reached adjournment.

“This building deal started a long time ago,” Bonsall said. “A lot of people put a lot of foresight and planning to get here. Ronda was a big part of that – trying to save money where we could. The jurors that were here before were as much a part of it as those who are here now. It’s good to see it come this far.”

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