The Natchitoches Parish Journal received this submission from Dennis Coleman. The views and opinions expressed are those of Mr. Coleman and not necessarily those of the Natchitoches Parish Journal. If you have an article for publishing consideration by the NPJ, please send it to NPJNatLa@gmail.com.
With little more than a month to the qualifying date, I find little to be excited about with the fall election, and that is disappointing. The Parish President Rick Nowlin
exhibited unprecedented leadership when he appointed the Advisory Commission to study the structural and financial needs of the Natchitoches Parish roads. However, after receiving the report, the parish council became suspiciously quiet and
wouldn’t allow the people of Natchitoches Parish to decide if a tax was appropriate or not. Most people I’ve talked to feel that is a decision best made by the taxpayer but
the council, touting unofficial and unpublished “Polls,” decided that an election would be unnecessary. The council offered no public comment and of course no alternative plan. The ‘all-knowing’ council, in the spirit of heavy-handed politics, made their
silence on the issue seem overwhelmingly loud.
Yes, there are those citizens who continue to pay expensive automobile repairs and cuss the roads and seem determined that no tax will pass. As they are private
citizens, this is their choice. The council, however sought and were elected to positions of leadership. Yet nothing new has been forthcoming. While most would agree that the parish council has offered no plan or answers, their silence seems only to raise more questions.
Back in November of 2012 there seemed to be a loose cannon running amok with
the police jury’s checkbook. Seven (7) specific roads received some funding for repairs. Each of these roads received some sort of a “lick and a promise.” In some cases, though, the “repair” only covered a part of the road. It seemed the juror in question had a bit of a problem with the bid law, since there is a law which requires the parish to employ the bid process on anything over $150,000. Well, when anyone has a contractor, who can work without supervision or oversight, the process is
“simplified.” The “trusted” contractor was told to not go over the $150,000 threshold, and that is what was done. Total cost on the seven (7) roads $883,622.73.
So, If you’re blessed to live on Grappes Bluff, Patrick Road, Post MillRoad, Cloud Crossing, Breazeale Springs, Old Bethel Church Road or Lake Gorum Road, you will
remember that flurry of activity back then, and some will remember that the job wasn’t completed. Oh, the repairs were definitely needed, but anyone would question the timing and the spending since the police jury had exhausted its
budget. Again, the wizard came through with another underhanded deal. All that was done was to transfer a sum from the Solid Waste Fund and since that didn’t cover everything, the ‘deficiency’ could easily be passed on to the incoming Home Rule Charter.
One must ask, who benefitted from this? Certainly not the taxpayer and not the parish. The contractor? The ‘loose cannon’ juror? The questions continue to
come up and are as plentiful as potholes in Natchitoches Parish.