Police Jury Increases Tax Miles, Joins Railroad Development District – Mississippi’s Best Community Newspaper
VIDALIA, La. — The Concordia Parish Police Jury took care of a lot of business at its regular meeting scheduled for Monday, including joining a new “railway development district” that is proposing to build a new line railway through the parish. The jury also voted unanimously to raise taxes for the parish.
Each year, the jury has the opportunity to “advance” the mileage and collect additional tax revenue based on the needs of the parish, Concordia Parish Tax Assessor Jeanie Archer explained during a public hearing on the question on Monday.
The police jury unanimously agreed to move forward, increasing the amount levied for the general fund from 2.25 to 2.27 mills, the drainage from 9.90 to 10 mills and the public health fund from 8.410 to 8 .50 thousandths. The value of a mill is $1 for every $1,000 of a property’s assessed value. All of the rate increases combined would increase the mileage by about 0.2 mils.
In December, the parish was asked to pass a new ordinance creating the Northeastern Louisiana Railroad Development District to create a rail line connecting the parishes of East Carroll, Madison, and Tensas.
The ordinance passed on Monday establishes a nine-member commission, with each parish’s police juries nominating two members and the final member jointly appointed by the four parishes.
The purpose of the commission would be to “promote and encourage the development of rail service between parishes,” said Bryant Killen, deputy director of the Lake Providence Harbor Commission at the December board meeting.
Killen said their goal was to follow the old Missouri Pacific railroad bed to Ferriday, where a new line would begin to lead to Vidalia and eventually cross the Mississippi River to Natchez. New construction in Ferriday, including the new Trinity Medical Center, prevents the line from following its original route.
Some object to the parish adopting two additional roads
In other cases at Monday’s meeting, the police jury adopted Perch Hole Bayou Road and Red Oak Tree Lane, adding them to the parish road network.
This decision was pushed back by a parish resident and a former police juror at the council meeting.
Patricia Metcalf said she lives on Passman Road and said it is dangerous to drive because it has not been properly maintained.
“Why take another road when you can’t even maintain the ones you have? she asked the council. “Our road is a danger. An ambulance cannot go down our road at more than 10 to 15 miles per hour.
She said the police panel failed to replace signs around dangerous curves and patched deep potholes that continued to pose a problem for drivers.
Willie Dunbar, who is a former police jury member, said the council had agreed not to adopt any more roads during his administration for this reason.
Jury secretary Sandi Burley said it was up to the current administration whether or not to adopt the roads.
“It’s a school bus route, a garbage truck route, and a mail route,” she said. “They meet all the criteria.”