Outgoing Webster Parish Police Jurors Perry Kirkland and Charlie Odom say they have enjoyed their time on the jury and accomplished much; incoming jurors Nick Cox and Dustin Moseley say they are ready to get to work.
Although there is still much to do, Odom and Kirkland will be entering the next phase of their lives.
“I’ve had a great time,” Odom said. “What I love about the police jury is finding something that the people said couldn’t be done and finding a way for it to work. I’ve enjoyed working with people all over the parish. I’ve had people come up to me asking who do I represent, and I say, ‘Well, I represent the people of the parish, not just my district.’ And trying to get people to understand once we do an ordinance or anything, it’s not just for that area, it’s for the whole parish.”
He says he plans to submit a letter to the editor with reflections of his 20 years of service.
He represented District 8.
Incoming juror Nick Cox, who will take Odom’s place Jan. 11, 2016, says he’s excited and ready to get to work for District 8 and the people of the entire parish.
“I couldn’t be more excited about it,” he said. “Over the past several months of attending meetings, I’ve learned that the police jury handles way more than the people realize. It’s nothing like people think it is. It’s a big responsibility, but it’s one I’m excited to take on. I see so many areas that I think we can make even better than they already are.”
Some of the issues he wants to become more involved in include the budget and dealing with the giant salvinia on Lake Bistineau and Bayou Dorcheat.
“I don’t necessarily think I’ll be able to solve the problem, I just think we need more people thinking about it,” he said, “and getting some people behind really getting rid of that stuff. That’s really concerning me.”
He’s also looking forward to learning more about the feasibility study by Bossier Parish to pull water from Bayou Dorcheat through a long-dormant water treatment facility.
“I want to stay on top of that issue,” he said. “I want to make sure that we conserve water for Webster Parish for years and years.”
He’s also concerned about the landfill, he says, as well as what happens to the Penal Farm property.
Kirkland, who represented District 5, says he’s going to miss working with the police jury and feels the jury has worked well together the last four years.
“They’re very good and very conscientious about spending the taxpayers’ money,” Kirkland said. “It was a real good four years, and they have concerns about a lot of different things in the parish. We wish there was money to do a whole lot more.”
This was Kirkland’s second term, having served one term in the 1990s. He says he worked hard, and had it been God’s will, he’d have won again.
“It’s something I accept because I just feel like it was to be,” he said. “I will miss being there, and we had some good things happen.”
He says his biggest accomplishments were serving the people of the parish and getting things done.
“I felt like I accomplished as much as I could with the money we had to do with,” he said. “I did get McIntyre Lane fixed out there, and we wanted to get Goodwill Road fixed.”
He says he hopes Goodwill Road will be fixed next year, saying it’s in bad shape on the west side of Highway 528. The jury’s revenue is down, he says, and they have their work cut out for them.
Bernard Hudson will take Kirkland’s seat in January.
Dustin Moseley will be sworn into the seat of the late Charlie Walker, who served as a police juror for more than 20 years. With his passing, his wife, Dorothy Walker, filled in until the October election.
Moseley says he plans to start working towards getting some of his district’s roads back into shape, adding roads and giant salvinia on Lake Bistineau are the two biggest issues he heard about while campaigning.
“Roads are probably going to be at the top of my agenda, especially in our area,” he said. “They’re in pretty bad shape, and a lot of them are going to be in bad shape soon. And from what I’ve heard so far, money is pretty tight and it’s getting tighter.”
He says he wants to learn more about what’s being done to battle giant salvinia on Lake Bistineau and explore avenues to bring in money to pay for its eradication, or at the very least, its management.
“I don’t think we’ll ever get rid of it,” he said. “You just have to figure out a better way to manage it, I think. I don’t think it’s possible to rid the lake of it, but maybe I’m wrong. The main issue, I think, is going to be funding it.”
Cox, Hudson and Moseley will be sworn in Jan. 11, 2016.