In their meeting on August 14, the Vernon Parish Police Jury, authorized the Transportation Committee of the Vernon Chamber of Commerce to apply for two grants under the Rural Tribal Assistance Pilot Program. One, a study for the I-14/Highway 171 intersection; the other to study the four-lane reconstruction of La. Highway 8 to US Highway 171. These applications will be executed on behalf of the Police Jury.
The Police Jury heard from Ms. Dixie Carson, representing residents who live on roads around the Waste Connections central location. She relayed to the Police Jurors issues that go back to 2017, including odors, trash, overuse of roads, constant dust and pollution. Ms. Carson provided photos to the Jurors. She stated these issues are around the clock and area residents are beyond frustrated. Suggestions from residents include fire hydrants, wider roads, even relocation of the Waste Connections physical facility. Police Jury President Jim Tuck said the jury would take these issues to Waste Connections and address them.
During the meeting August 21, Waste Connections addressed the Police Jury and introduced Mr. John Ferrante, the new Operations Supervisor for the facility.
Parish Building Inspector Billy McShan asked the Jury about the potential renewal of a working relationship with the Rapides Area Planning Commission. This group works with six other parishes in Central Louisiana to conduct building inspections, including all mandated safety codes. They estimate a potential savings of $200 per inspection for local residents. Vernon Parish had been a part of this group until 2009, when internal problems within the RAPC ended the relationship. These concerns have since been addressed. If approved by the Police Jury, the partnership could begin again in 2024.
The Finance Committee, chaired by Curtis Clay, released figures from invoices paid that showed the Police Jury had spent nearly 1.2 million dollars on the overlay of 24 Vernon Parish roads in 2023.
The Vernon Parish Health Unit requested work to be done and submitted quotes for carpet cleaning, repairing of the curb and sidewalks, plus re-striping of the parking lot. The Police Jury approved the nearly $16,000 in repairs during the meeting August 21.
The Vernon Parish Police Jury declared a state of emergency in the parish mid-August due to the oppressive heat and danger of wildfires. Jurors on August 21 also discussed how to honor and thank the many firefighters and volunteers who have been battling fires all month. Several ideas were discussed, but no plans were announced.