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Road repair a hot topic

The Webster Parish Police Jury met Wednesday morning and discussed several road improvements and community services.
Dixie Inn is set to purchase a mower with funds allocated to their area with extra funds coming from the village to complete the purchase. The mayor of Dixie Inn attended the meeting.

Juror Steve Ramsey of District 11 brought the issue of paving South Main Street in Sarepta.

“Most of South Main is a Highway 2 alternate so there’s a lot of traffic that comes up to South Main in front of the church. You can turn right and go out to the red light. Obviously straight southwest, you can see [Highway] 371. So guess where everyone goes? They take that shortcut. It’s an additional burden and additional wear and tear to a city street,” Ramsey said.

Some jurors did not agree with performing any improvements to the road because of the precedent it would set for other city streets.

“Our parish roads are not in the best of shape and we’re taking money off the parish roads to put inside the city. Personally, I’m concerned about that,” District Six’s Jim Bonsall said.

Juror Steve Lemmons also disagreed. “I have a small municipality, Dubberly, I’ve been taking, for the last three or four years, my discretionary money and the money that they get. It’s taken me three years, almost, to do one of those roads because that’s what I’ve dedicated this money that I get up here, for them. It was my understanding that we didn’t take our road district money and do roads in the city, it was the city’s responsibility,” Lemmons said.

Ramsey said South Main Street did not fit the definition of a regular city street because of the traffic that it gets and that the request was a safety issue.

“I believe everything that they are saying about safety, but I also believe it’s the city’s responsibility,” District Nine’s Jerri Lee said.

“Mrs. Jerri has even given me money out of her discretionary money. If it’s that important to you, use your discretionary money,” Lemmons said.

The request was voted down with a majority of votes opposing funding the project.

Community Services were discussed by juror Jerri Lee.

“We reported to you earlier that we had a one time grant of $2 million plus to work on the roof and cafeteria at Jack and Jill Head Start Center. Then, we are getting brand new buses because ours are pretty much non-functional. When we wrote the grant, we asked them to excuse the part that we should pay. It was actually written in the grant but we have a formal letter. We have not touched that money until we can look at it closer. We still want something in writing from them,” Lee said.

She also discussed a meeting with the transportation department. There are three openings with the department. Lee expects a new executive director of community services should be hired soon.

There were reports from several community agencies. Savannah Jones of the Webster Parish Library reported over 1,000 people visited programs at the Library October.

Serena Gray of the Tourism Bureau announced that holiday celebrations would begin in Webster Parish November 24 in Springhill. She said people were contacting the Bureau to find things to do during their holiday visits.

Carl Thompson spoke representing the Webster Parish Assessor and reported that Aaron’s Rent to Own submitted a state-wide dispute stating they should not have to pay taxes on property that was being rented because it was no longer in their ownership. They later removed that dispute.

Jenny Reynolds with Homeland Security reported that she recently participated in a communications exercise held in Ruston. There was also a completed grant project for water rescue gear.

The next Police Jury meeting will be Tuesday, December 4 at the Courthouse annex.