Former Mayor George Moss spoke to the Kiwanis club about his tenure as Mayor of Winnfield. He learned that you could not please everyone. There were many issues when he became mayor. Those included the ground water storage tank, sewer and water lines, and the electric grid. City hall was full of mold, and the human resources department was a disaster. Files for employees were piled in boxes and not filed. At the Allen Building, the front wall was unstable, and there were other problems. The fire and police departments were out of date. The recreation program was having problems and the roof leaked at the Civic Center. Last but not least was fluctuating electric rates.
It cost $1 million to replace the groundwater storage tank. They are still working on the ozone plant. The water is very good but is brown because of the tannin levels. They replaced sewer lines where they could be found. Maple Street was one of those places, but they had to wait to repave the street until they could fit it in with another job because of the price of asphalt. In City Hall, they removed floors and ceilings and sealed off the back, which previously had been the jail, to remove as much mold as possible. Tina Williford did a good job in Human Resources, getting employee files correct and working with payroll, time cards, etc.
What most people don’t realize is that the mayor can only do what the council lets him do. There was a problem with audits when Mayor Moss took office, not that there was anything illegal but that they were not filed on time. When audits are not filed on time, it affects grant money and money you can receive from the state. He changed CPAs and got the audits filed and under control. This resulted in state money that renovated the Allen Building. Police and fire vehicles were bought with a deal from Enterprise-14 cars for $72,000. All were able to be purchased from PK Smith Motors. He tried to enter into a deal with Nexterra, the largest power provider in the country, but the council would not vote to leave LEPA. However, this did allow him to negotiate new rates with LEPA.
Another thing that was done was to hire Jesse Phillips as a community liaison to promote cooperation between departments.
Other problems during his tenure were the Covid shutdown, Hurricane Laura, and the ice storm. Hurricane Laura caused $3 million in damage. There were 5.5 million feet of power lines down after the storm. FEMA paid back 80-90%, but we had to pay the money first.
At the time he left office, they were working on renovating the mini-park into a Veteran’s memorial. Collins subdivision and Thomas Mill road were annexed into the city. Sewer lines were run out to Hwy 156, and anyone hooked on to the sewer line was automatically annexed into the city. The 84 West Water system is a joint venture between the city and the parish. It will cost $1.9 million to fix. We received a bond, the state fixes, it is given to the city, and the bond is forgiven. A lot of street repairs were done, and more needed to be done.
Last but not least, the red lights on Main Street had their control boxes rebuilt, and they are now working properly.