Steve Rachal – Funds to improve roads

In case you weren’t able to hear the big news on the radio:

Ever since I began my campaign for Natchitoches Parish Sheriff, people have asked me if there was anything I could do for the parish roads. We have school buses, ambulances, firetrucks, elderly and sick people, and other vehicles that have serious problems traveling our parish roads. We also have to be able as Deputies to get to people in their time of need.

I have traveled most of the roads in Natchitoches Parish during my campaign for sheriff and I agree completely that our roads are in very bad shape. I began thinking about our roads and wondered if there was anything I could do as Sheriff to help. After all, the sheriff’s primary job is public safety. I knew the Parish Government was paying the Sheriffs Department for housing inmates at the Detention Center. They are current on what they owe each month, but they are paying an additional $5000 per month toward a past due debt owed to the Sheriff’s Department. This debt was incurred because the Police Jury years ago stopped paying for housing inmates, and that past due balance reached approximately $1,000,000.

I reviewed the Sheriff Department’s budget and financials and realized this $5000 per month didn’t make a significant difference to the $17,000,000 budget, and the money could possibly be used to improve our roads.

I made contact with the Legislative Auditor’s office for guidance. Here’s my proposal: I am willing to forgive the debt that is owed to the Natchitoches Parish Sheriff’s Department by the Parish Government. The law states that I cannot out right forgive the debt which is lawfully owed unless we get something in return. I think better roads will qualify for that.

I will agree to do this, providing there are no legal issues with my proposal and under the condition that the Natchitoches Parish Government adopts a resolution that a minimum of $5000 a month (which is the amount they are currently paying to the Sheriff’s Department) will continue to be paid directly to the Road Fund and not the General Fund. This money will have to be spent solely on our roads to make them safer and usable.

I am willing to make this offer and small sacrifice so that we may have safer roads in our parish. This resolution may expire when the total amount owed is met.