The Red River Parish Police Jury is looking for two new members of the parish Fire Board. The terms of two members expire at the end of this year. Both have notified the jury that they will not serve another term. The Police Jury expects to have nominees for the two positions to be approved at the December Police Jury meeting.
Fire Board President Shawn Beard is stepping down because he will not have the time to devote to the board. Beard told the Journal, “My ministry is growing and that is leading me in a direction that I will not be able to serve (on the Fire Board). I am a firm believer in being of service, but I cannot make the meetings as I have been, so I cannot serve another term.”
Board member Bill Jones cited personal reasons. He said, “I got on the board because of the property tax early renewal the former board had proposed two years early. For personal reasons I don’t feel that I can do it another term.”
The Journal asked Jones if he accomplished what he had wanted to do as a member of the Fire Board. He said, “We’ve done a lot of things. Their debt is in better shape than two years ago, but we did not accomplish it all.”
For background, the former Fire Board submitted a request to the Police Jury to call an election for the purpose of renewing their property tax at least two years before the expiration of that tax. Jones and others dug into audits and other records of the Fire Department. It was discovered that the finances of the fire department were in drastic need of revision. It was also discovered that all board members had not been requesting renewals of their terms, as required by law, and in effect the board was not properly made up.
The Police Jury appointed a completely new board that took over. And the property taxes were renewed by the public in the spring of 2021.
Since then, the board has made some drastic changes to the fire department budget to head off a projected shortfall. At a recent fire board meeting it was stated that they anticipated ending this year with a several hundred thousand dollar surplus. The board meets next Monday afternoon at 3:00 pm and will act on budget revisions for the current year.
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