Packed House at Police Jury Meeting

By Nicole Tull

The DeSoto Parish Police Jury met Monday evening at 5:00 pm. All jurors were present. The gallery was at max capacity and dozens were turned away per the Sheriff’s deputies to ensure the fire marshal’s requirements were met.  The first item on the agenda was Emory Belton with Pattern Energy addressing the jurors about using DeSoto Parish to leapfrog across the parish. His company has a DC converter coming from Texas going to Mississippi.

Next was the 4-H agents addressing the jury regarding some questions a police juror had concerning the insurance coverage of 4-H activities. Josh Salley and SarahJayne Driskill spoke to the jury about the impact of 4-H in the community and state. Juror Burrell was concerned that the shooting activities were not covered by the insurance. The agents assured her that if she would have called the 4-H office, the information would have been given to her. The insurance policy was on hand to show that the insurance does indeed cover all activities. No activities can take place until sufficient insurance coverage is supplied per state and national mandates for the program. Juror Burrell was satisfied with the information given but was frustrated with the gross negligence of misinformation that was reported concerning her interest in the 4-H program. She further stated that she has been a part of the program as a student in school. Juror Burrell said that the jury donated to 4-H but Agent Salley said there was no record of such donations.

Students Sidney Hall and Dalton Shahan, who are current 4-H jr. leaders and active participants of the program, addressed the jury on behalf of the club members. Samantha Houston, a mother and supporter of 4-H program, also addressed the jurors. Safety was paramount in all discussion directed to the jurors.

After a current candidate seeking a local office introduced herself to the jury another speaker not on the agenda was invited to speak. David Buffington is the founder and president of a non-profit organization that is concerned with the shooting sports in general. He founded the group two years ago and is looking to secure a parcel of land to build a place for the students involved in shooting sports can practice and compete. The jury agreed to work with him to make this dream a reality. With a state-of-the-art facility, DeSoto parish could be the site to welcome regional, state and Olympic competitions.

On the regular agenda, the jurors voted to accept the 2023 millage rates. Next the jurors voted to authorize the president to sign a resolution with BETA Land Services for the assignment of State Agency Lease No. 22119 from BETA Land Services, LLC. and authorize him to execute the State Project concerning Public Transportation Operating Assistance Program.

There was discussion concerning the holiday schedule for the DPPJ. Juneteenth will be observed on Monday so the jury meeting will be moved to the next day. The jurors voted to authorize the president to sign a CCEA with the Opioid Abatement Administrative Corporation. The jurors authorized the president to sign a Resolution calculating revenue loss per ARPA calculation for FY 2021.  

There was discussion concerning the agenda item to change the language on Cooperative Endeavor Agreements to say that “all expenses be paid by the entity requesting the work to be done.” Juror Kennington suggested that may not be a fair requirement. It was suggested that if the verbiage was added then it should be amended to also state “unless waived by jury body.” Jurors voted to approved verbiage.

Other committees met immediately following the Administrative Committee meeting. Buildings and Properties & Parks and Recreational discussed at length to amend the amendment regarding the detention facility. It was decided to defer the matter until the administrator could get a balance for work done. The jurors then authorized the administrator to sign a service agreement with Johnson Controls for fire sprinklers at the jail.

Budget and Finance Committee decided to defer amending the jail fund budget until more information was provided from Buildings and Properties.

Road Committee approved the naming of Twisted Peach Private Lane in Logansport. They voted to amend the road budget for drainage work on Cook Creek Road in Grand Cane. Lastly the committee discussed amending the road budget to extend Constitution Road as an unpaved rock road. It was decided this was not in the best interest of the jury to approve.

Policy and Procedures Committee discussed the holiday policy. It was noted by the administrator that the policy is outdated with the current labor laws. Overtime pay policies need to reflect the current laws and holiday schedule.

Solid Waste committee authorized and approved the new terms with Live Oak. They also authorized the president to sign a resolution for the administrator to negotiate with BioMethane for installation of a gas system at Mundy landfill. It was noted that Mundy produced sufficient methane for the need and benefit of such a system. The jurors are anxious for the company to begin work. All meetings were adjourned by 7:00 pm.