Jury delays discussion on reapportionment 

By Bonnie Culverhouse

A hearing to discuss reapportionment for Webster Parish Police Jury district lines will be rescheduled, due to a lack of information for the public.

“I want to talk about it,” said parish resident Samuel Mims. “But I don’t know what the plan is. If I knew what the plan is, I’d know what I want to talk about.”

Jury President Jim Bonsall said, at the time of the meeting, they did not have access to the new maps.

“Sam, that is what you want, is to see the maps,” Bonsall clarified. “So you can even know if you want to discuss it.”

Parish attorney Patrick Jackson said there have been comments about the proposals for reapportionment.

“I’d like to get some additional maps to give the public the opportunity to look at those,” Jackson said. “We can leave them out for several days, have times for the public to come look at them, and then schedule another public hearing once we’ve had that process.”

Jackson said when he saw the hearing was on the jury’s March agenda, he knew “there was not an opportunity for people to have a back-and-forth. Since we are under no pressure and have a lot of time to do this, we should have a more robust opportunity for the public to see the maps.”

Jackson said there are proposed changes.

“Some districts are getting smaller,” he said. “Webster Parish has lost 5,000 people since the last census. So, some of the districts will get bigger to make up for the shift in population.”

In other business, the police jury voted unanimously, with Juror Allen Gilbert absent, to approve the following agenda items:

  • Abandon 1,328 feet of Waldron Road;
  • Reappoint Jim Bell and Roger Schumacher to Sarepta Fire District #5 for term ending 12/31/2023;
  • Appoint Emmett Jone’s to fill the unexpired term of R.O. Machen, Evergreen Fire District, ending 12/31/2022;
  • Audit engagement with Allen, Green & Williamson, CPA for financial audit year ending 12/31/2021 and approve engagement of Wise, Martin & Cole for CPA services for 2022 and audit for 2021;
  • Acquire or expropriate parcels for Dorcheat Road Bridge over Coney Creek; and,
  • Surplus OHSEP equipment on govdeals.com.

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