By Labetha Casey
A full house showed up at the July 18, 2022, DeSoto Parish Police Jury meeting. Many attended to show their support of the hot topic of funding the animal control facility and mosquito control. Many fear that the facility will close if not properly funded. An ad valorem tax has failed on the ballot four times in recent years.
Juror Jimmy Holmes, Jr. proposed having a parcel fee which is a type of property tax where every resident pays the same amount, similar to the manner in which at least one of the DeSoto Parish fire districts acquire their funding. Juror Greg Baker responded by stating that in order to implement a parcel fee, a state legislator must present this matter to the state legislature for approval which would take a good bit of time since the legislature has already met for this year. Parcel fees are collected by the sheriff’s office.
Animal Control Director, Barbie Higginbotham feels that enough support throughout the parish has been gained in order to pass the proposed tax. Both Higginbotham and Parish Administrator, Michael Norton, stated that the state of Louisiana requires each parish to provide services for animal and mosquito control. Norton also reminded the jury that parish ordinances are in place regarding these issues, and if the facility is closed then these ordinances must be rescinded.
The final decision of the jury was to place a 1 mill ad valorem tax on the ballot for voters to decide the funding.
On a lighter note, a presentation of achievements and service awards were presented to several 4-H members. Aaron Carroll, Brian Buffington, DeMarcus Smith, Kenli Dumas and Josie Celichowski are all involved in the local, state, and some involved in national shooting sports.
John Brossette spoke on behalf of his son, Michael, who has purchased property on Van Street near Moore Pvt. Drive and has been refused a building permit in order to build his home. Brossette stated that his son has legal access to his property and that eight homes have already been built in that area and he feels it is not fair of the jury to refuse the building permit. The Brossetes realize that the jury will not be responsible for the upkeep of the private road.
Another item on the agenda was for approval to hire an additional permit officer to offset overtime costs of paying the presently employed 4 officers. This item is deferred for discussion for the August meeting as Juror DeWayne Mitchell would like to review the present overtime costs.
The jury treasurer’s report revealed that the general revenue has exceeded the projected amount by 30%.
A representative from Glencoe Aviation in Gonzales, La inquired why D.A. Charles Adams was to be asked to handle the matter regarding the A-7 Airplane Transport and disassembly/assembly. His company had been hired to travel to Mt. Vernon, Indiana to disassemble an airplane from a pedestal and transport it to the DeSoto Parish airport and reassemble it. However, after removing the plane from the pedestal, it was discovered that the plane had not been properly maintained and permits for transporting the plane were more costly than originally anticipated. The plane was then replaced onto the pedestal in Indiana. He stated that his bid was for about $25,000, not including the cost of permits, and he is seeking payment for his costs. The Parish treasurer stated that when she was called about approval for the cost of the permits, she didn’t have the authority for such approval. The jury recessed into executive session to discuss this matter with the district attorney to decide payment.
The NRA Friends were late in submitting their proposal for permission to conduct their annual event on August 6, 2022, at the Dave Means Center and sought an appeal for approval, which was granted.