Police Jury raises tax millage, joins railroad development district

Published 4:49 am Wednesday, May 25, 2022

VIDALIA, La. — The Concordia Parish Police Jury took care of a lot of business during their regularly scheduled meeting on Monday, including joining a new “Railroad Development District” that proposes to build a new railway line through the parish. The jury also voted unanimously to increase taxes for the parish.

Each year, the jury has the option to “roll forward” the millage and collect additional tax revenue based on the parish’s needs, Concordia Parish Tax Assessor Jeanie Archer explained during a public hearing on the matter Monday.

The police jury unanimously agreed to roll forward, increasing the amount levied for the general fund from 2.25 to 2.27 mills, drainage from 9.90 to 10 mills and public health fund from 8.410 to 8.50 mills. The value of a mill is $1 per $1,000 of the assessed value of a piece of property. All of the rate increases combined would raise the millage by approximately 0.2 mills.  

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In December, the parish was asked to adopt a new ordinance creating the Northeast Louisiana Railroad Development District to create a rail line joining East Carroll, Madison and Tensas parishes.

The ordinance adopted Monday establishes a nine-member commission with the police juries from each parish appointing two members and the last member appointed jointly by all four parishes.

This commission’s purpose would be to “promote and encourage the development of rail service running between the parishes,” said Bryant Killen, Deputy Director of the Lake Providence Port Commission during the December board meeting.

Killen said their goal is to follow the old Missouri Pacific rail bed into Ferriday, where a new line would begin leading to Vidalia and possibly cross the Mississippi River into Natchez. New construction in Ferriday, including the new Trinity Medical Center, prevents the line from following its original path.

Some oppose the parish adopting two more roads

In other matters during Monday’s meeting, the police jury adopted Perch Hole Bayou Road and Red Oak Tree Lane, adding them to the parish road system.

This move received some pushback from a parish resident and a former police juror during the board meeting.

Patricia Metcalf said she lives on Passman Road and said it is hazardous to drive because it has not been properly maintained.

“Why take on another road when you can’t even maintain the ones you have?” she asked the board. “Our road is a hazard. An ambulance can’t come down our road going more than 10 to 15 miles per hour.” 

She said the police jury failed to replace signs around hazardous curves and puts patches on deep potholes that continue to be a problem for drivers.

Willie Dunbar, who is a former police jury member, said the board agreed not to adopt any more roads during his administration for this reason.

The Jury Secretary Sandi Burley said it is up to the current administration whether to adopt the roads or not.

“This is a school bus route, a garbage truck route and a mail route,” she said. “They meet all of the criteria.”