Working as a team. That is how President of the Police Jury, Josh McAllister, explained his success. McAllister spoke to the Winnfield Kiwanis Club about his tenure on the police jury, along with his business background in the logging woods. He stated it all starts at home, where he and his wife work together as team at home and in business.
McAllister brings that team mentality to the police jury where he, and the other members of the jury try to maximize the amount of tax money invested back in to the parish’s infrastructure. However, this is a tough task. Winn parish brings in roughy between 2.9 to 3.1 million dollars in annual revenue. That number rates us as one of the poorest parish’s in the state. While being one of the poorest parishes, we have over 800 miles of parish roads. That puts us at the top of amount of road miles in the state to maintain.
The previous high spent on gravel for our roads was $80,000 a year. This year we spent over $320,000 on gravel towards our roads. Throughout McAllister’s tenure as president the police jury has laid in between 20 and 25 miles of asphalt. The current price of asphalting one mile of road is half million dollars.
The police jury has used different strategies to cut cost. One way they have cut cost is by cutting the benefits of the jury members. While full time police jury employees still receive benefits, the jury members who McAllister termed as public servants, gave up their insurance and retirement. This saves the tax payer’s $80,000 a year. Winn Parish used to be one of seventeen parishs in the state to manage HUD. We have now gotten the State to take over HUD in our parish saving us another $60,000 to $70,000 a year.
While natural disasters have plagued our parish during McAllister’s tenure he is still working towards completed goals that will better our parish. McAllister stated that there have been seven declarations of emergencies in his time as president. This has made progress in infrastructure stall but the police jury is still looking forward and working hard for the betterment of the parish.
One project the police jury has secured funds for is to redo the parish’s water systems. The police jury applied and was rewarded grant money. With the grants and investments from our community water systems, we will be able to improve our water system infrastructure. Another big task on the agenda is investing into broadband. A committee has been formed on building a broadband infrastructure. This will make our parish more business friendly and more appealing to the younger generation.
While McAllister talked about prior accomplishments, along with set backs, he painted a positive future for our parish. We can keep moving in the right direction as a parish as long as we keep the emphasis on teamwork. This requires cooperation from all local government.
Pictured above: Kiwanis President Lamar Tarver, Winn Parish Police Jury President Josh McAllister and wife Toni