No Place like Home: Livingston Parish Councilman Jeff Ard

Livingston Parish Councilman Jeff Ard

Jim Chapman of Local Leaders:The Podcast sits down with Livingston Parish district 1 councilman for Jeff Ard to discuss life on the council and learn a little about the man outside of the council.

A must watch episode!

Transcript (Beta)

hey y’all it’s woody overton host of real life real crime the podcast and you’re listening to local leaders the podcast hi it’s tricia johnston residential realtor with ladder and bloom with your real estate tip of the week the real estate market was very busy in 2021 but one thing that we didn’t see much of was foreclosures but foreclosure activity is already showing signs of increasing since the foreclosure moratorium was lifted after being in effect for a year and a half the number of foreclosures will vary across the country but nationwide so far we’ve already seen a 34 increase in foreclosures the time frame will vary as well depending on how each lender chooses to handle their delinquent loans some homeowners will be given the opportunity to move their past due payments to the end of their loan and just resume making normal monthly payments properties that have been vacated whose property owners have not been communicating with the lender will be handled much differently than those properties that are still occupied the homeowners have started making normal monthly payments again and they’re communicating with their lenders and the foreclosures are definitely not going to have a negative impact on the real estate market in fact it’s going to help because we’ve had such low inventory the influx of these foreclosed properties is actually going to help the situation if you have questions about this or anything else please don’t hesitate to reach out to me i’m always just a phone call away i’m trisha johnston with ladder and bloom and i’ll be back here next week with another real estate tip for you all right we are back with mr jeff arden of the livingston parish council how are you sir i’m doing fine how are you i am great now you covered district one correct correct and that’s a big district very big district covers uh small piece of walker the entire town of livingston right and how far where else do you all come i go from uh basically 449 yep uh which and uh walker north uh everything above arnold road okay on the road in courtney yes that’s that’s the line for me and mr gurley house yeah then i got from 449 he’s got he basically keeps the town of walker over the city of walker right and then i go all the way to the other side of livingston to the tickfaw river wow that’s a that’s a that’s a big territory from the interstate all the way up to the paris line line yeah that’s a that’s a lot of territory to cover uh for sure a lot of land uh probably the is it the largest district in the county i have the largest land you know uh mr de la district eight’s probably the largest area he just has a lot of water yeah he’s got the lake and mar paul and all that yeah yeah it’s it’s it’s a lot and uh and i wanted to mention that you know it’s funny people assume i guess sometimes that it’s a full-time job and it is in a lot of ways you just don’t get full-time paid right right it’s definitely a part-time gig and i mean i still work you know 40 hours 50 hours a week for mmr as a superintendent for them yeah and then i do this and then i also have my own business where i install home generators gotcha yeah i stay fairly busy how is the generator business um they’re hard to get right now yeah very hard to get but uh i i try not to overwhelm myself with them and do one or two at a time and yes fit them in when i can yes well a lot of people after the the most recent hurricane you know they found a need for generators there’s no doubt about it but the problem is getting them you know is not as easy as it used to be because it’s not just us that needs them that storm went up north toward everything up up north as well so it’s a lot of people looking for generators that’s right and look anything right now is hard to get no matter what it is generators or uh paint or whatever it is it’s it’s a struggle to get it in there so uh talking about a little bit a little bit more of back home you’re you’re actually uh you were raised i guess in satsuma satsuma ju just north of uh 190 right there on cane market well he was probably quarter mile north of it okay so we were actually on the line of walker and doll district yeah you know i mean we literally had people almost across the street catching the bus to go the dog yes and we were going to walker so uh but i played sports with some of the you know guys out in the livingston area so i’ve known all of them forever you know my kids played sports in livingston and uh just you know known them people like i was going to school there and i actually went to walker yeah so uh well it’s amazing it’s one of the most beautiful things about this parish is uh we’re we’re still not so big that everybody doesn’t kind of run into each other right you know it still has that small town feel even though we are growing in a lot of ways and and we kind of discovered that recently with the with the most current census that came out in 2020 uh you know one of the things from a parish council standpoint is the redistrict redistricting process that takes place when um i kind of break down for me if you could is it that every councilman kind of needs to have an even playing field i guess or responsibility you basically want to make it to where one councilman doesn’t have more than the others to where he’s considered has all the population yeah so you try to break it up to where every councilman has i think he said it’s within a minus 10 yeah yeah deviation deviation yeah and um i think it’s going to wound up giving us all somewhere around 16 000 yeah in each district uh but it it’s actually going to be looks fairly easy because mr mcmorris’s district which is below walker port benson that area yo yale he he wound up having the largest district wow we were all kind of like wow you know you know we were expecting watson you know to be the largest and uh and then randy’s district which is springfield mar paul killian they kind of were the lowest yeah so we could probably just take some of gerald’s district give it to randy they’re side by side and we should be good oh that’s a good thing everybody else was within the minus 10 so it shouldn’t be too hard i know randy mentioned in the meeting some about just the the uh i guess the village of french solomon giving it up to him and that would solve the problem well that’s a and that’s a great thing because technically if it would have been uh a worse issue people could have ended up with a different councilman than what they’re used to maybe maybe they’re happy with their councilman and they don’t want to lose that guy and uh and so the best case scenario would be that you can kind of solve that with with just maybe two guys trading a little bit of area yeah and we we were really concerned with denim because after the flood you know a lot of people kind of moved out of the area yes and we wasn’t sure how many of them moved back yeah because you know the year after the flood someone was almost cut in half on the population from when we ran yes i remember but they came back you know yeah they really did uh you know it it’s amazing and of course that’s kind of my my area and and where i hang out i guess you say is denim springs live in the area and uh yeah it was crazy after the flood but the comeback was was a beautiful thing just amazing and and everybody on the outside of denham springs that came in to help and you know um uh and we saw it again with the the storm which is you know the way the people just went to work uh it’s what we do in livingston it’s a beautiful thing um and speaking of that uh the storm has been a kind of a hot topic and and uh debris and all that sort of thing and cleanup and and so from a council standpoint what part of that are you responsible for would you say really administration handles it yeah um so kind of the only thing we do is you know somebody’s lives on the end of a road that seems to get overlooked they might call us you know we’ll call administration bring it to their attention they we need to get somebody down this road to go pick this up for these people and uh yes you know but as far as that you know the parish president administration they pretty much handle all of that yeah there’s not a whole lot that you know listeners one thing to to tell you is from from a council standpoint it’s it’s not much different than you know your your national government you have a senate and you have a correct you know all of that uh congress and so you’re the legislative side so right you uh introduce the laws and pass the ordinances we’ll call them and uh and they they kind of handle it from there correct and so that’s something important for people to keep in mind is is it’s it’s different now than it used to be and there used to be a police jury correct yes and that’s i guess an issue that we still have with some of the older people in the parish that were used to the police jury system because you know they might have called their police jury back in the 80s yeah and hey i need you to take care of this for okay and they did it right away yeah you know but the police jury man actually in his district he got a pile of money he had his own work crew and he was basically the supervisor over that crew yes he directed them and they did everything he wanted done and he was over at all yes we’re overdone of that right you know we we write the laws if we see a law that needs to be tweaked we tweak it we change it you know um we really don’t have any intel on the actual work in the employees that’s the administration’s job under a council system yes and so that’s the primary difference in those in those days and times that you kind of handled everything now it’s they split that essentially yeah and look it was a eye opening for me because you know i have an uncle james sibley used to be a police chairman and uh i kind of always watched the position and i might be interested in that one day and i kind of got married moved out to walker and but i always wanted to go back to where i grew up to do it and we finally moved back out in that area and i decided to run it’s been good things it’s been good i mean you know i i really i get more upset when somebody calls me and i can’t help them yeah you know because i feel like there’s a lot of times that i just have to say i just can’t do nothing that’s not my job you know yeah and some people just don’t want to hear that yeah yeah they and that’s one thing we want to definitely impress on everybody is uh you’re not necessarily passing a buck your hands do get tied yes and uh and so leighton rex office that’s more the administrative side of things that that uh you would deal with on situations like that now if you’ve got a you know a good idea or a law that you think you want to bring to the to the council and say hey this might make for a good ordinance they they’d love to hear it i’m sure yeah and that’s another thing i’ve had people come up to me and ask me something and i’ll say you know i have to look into it they’re like you don’t know it but do you know how many ordinances that we have there’s no there’s a lot i’ve seen them so if it hasn’t come across our desk and we’ve dealt with it we would probably have to look it up and and see what the ordinance says and see if there’s an issue with it and you know and and we’ve had a lot of them that’s come across our desk that we’re like they made sense back in the 90s when they wrote it sure but it doesn’t make sense now because our parish has changed so much that you know and we probably have a bunch of them that’s still on the books that we just haven’t come across yet that really doesn’t help us out as a parish now but until something comes across our desk isn’t part of that ordinance we just we don’t know yeah and it’s it he’s 100 right i mean you can go online and print out the entire thing and you better have a ream of paper in there to print it out because i started to one day and i’m like i ain’t got enough ink for this yeah uh so yeah i said it uh it’s a lot hey ladies it’s pete with ida lane spawn boutique located in walker we offer all things skincare hair care makeup spray tan lashes and more and we have a full selection of clothes and we also do private events from birthday parties bridal showers and more so stop by today and get your queen on making every woman a queen see you soon 2015 uh the entire council was pretty much replaced this was your first term it was my first term um i was probably the first one to come out of the group and say that they were running um and at the time transparent was the councilman and he had said that he wasn’t going to run and then he come back change his mind and ran so i ran against him you know he was still the incumbent yeah um you got a pretty high percentage of that 69 on that one uh and and just went around and uh you know a lot of people know me and me and tracy garden have known each other since we were five years old went through school from kindergarten all the way through and you know he was a councilman in city of walker and i kind of made you really do this with me let’s let’s do this together and let’s go in and took a little convincing kind of finally got him going and then uh you know started hearing of other guys wanting to get in and do it and i i mean it was when we all won we all kind of get in there and like okay yeah cause you’re all new we’re all new yeah what are we gonna do and uh you know luckily uh john wascoom and tracy both had a little experience at least being on city council right and uh we kind of leaned on them but i’m gonna tell you our our savior was miss sandy thiel yeah our clerk yeah you know she she kept us in line she’s awesome she is awesome and she she really she really kept us going yeah we we would try to do things and she’d be like no you can’t do it that way you have to do it this way i’m sorry yeah there’s a lot of red tape involved that uh that you got to kind of work through and things like that miss sandy till i i did leadership livingston with her and uh just an amazing uh lady indeed she is so uh and has to deal with a bunch of you guys all the time and that counts yeah it’s gonna be tough scooter running around yeah we have clashes you know uh i i at one time i had a little joke going around and i don’t even remember it about each councilman’s part and what they do and you know and yeah i used to mess with scooter all the time and say we we just use you when we want information leaked out scooter that’s all we usually i love it i love that yeah so uh and interestingly enough the council they have a they have a lot of responsibility and there’s a lot of things y’all been doing uh towards the positive lately i guess you could say one of those i want to bring up that is kind of a big topic is water safety regulations so we’ve had unfortunately some deaths at uh tiki tubing um you know lately and and of course those make the news and everything and from the council standpoint you all said man we need to look at this and maybe we need to institute some regulations for businesses you know to operate it wasn’t being it was really common sense stuff that you’re not you’re not trying to be hard on any sort of business but there were some safety regulations lacking there so let’s discuss those a little bit well you know the ordinance committee gave it to us at the last meeting and i thought they did an excellent job on it you could tell they really put their time into it you know they they put where they’re going to have gps markers down the river so when something happens they can call in and say hey we’re at this marker yeah that’s huge and we don’t have people trying to go up and down the river or send a drone up or whatever we got to do to try to find them we have a marker that at least puts us right on top of them yes so uh we’re also gonna have uh depth gauges yeah along the river to be able to see uh they’re gonna try to mark some of the more dangerous areas of the river that typically get deep and uh when the river gets high it gets a little sure a little stronger current there yeah the life vest we had a little discussion on that but you know it basically said the business had to provide them it doesn’t say you have to wear them right that’s still your personal liberty yeah we’re not going to stop stepping on that liberty but we want the business owner to have to put it in your hands yes you know um and you know mr wascombe wanted to add available and i was the one that said um wait a minute i feel like if we put available they’re going to put a tub of life vests right there and hey they’re available yeah you know and if you want to get one yeah and i would i would prefer put a tub where you drop them off at and if they don’t want to wear it they can put it in the tub over there but they did that yeah on their own they put it in that tub and they chose not to wear it yeah that’s right they made that decision for themselves they made that decision yeah i agree with that 100 and that was uh more semantics than anything else you know as far as wording but it was worded very well and there’s a you know one thing we also want to say is it does not include private boat launches so yes anybody that has a private boat launch it’s all good you don’t have to yeah you know it’s primarily for business you know because it it was like did we put you know the you know floating devices that don’t have a motor inflatables you know how how do we word this and uh it was a lot of discussion on how to get it right yeah you know and at the same time we didn’t want to be like we’re picking on this one business right you know we wanted it to pertain to river safety that’s right not just this business yeah uh that you know it just so happened this business brought the attention to us that hey we have an issue that we probably need to look into yeah and that’s and that’s the you know the great things about a council is it’s a bunch of minds getting together and kind of working out the best solution and the best process for those sort of things so uh you know look for that look for for that maybe next time you get a tiki tubing and and they’re gonna start that process with and i think the gps thing is is just amazing because that emergency personnel they know right it could be the difference between life or death in some cases yes yes and i mean look that the other thing is uh you used to you just went in you’d sign the waiver yeah and we all know most people don’t read that right you just let me sign it and go on great um and i had kind of mentioned to uh me and tracy was talking one day and i said well tracy you know we go to tennessee a lot and you always have to sit down and watch a video you know if you go riding foilers through the mountains or any anything you do there’s a video i don’t know if it’s an ordinance up there and they make them do it but you have to go in this little room and watch a video well then he he took it from there and went to running and you know he said hey that’s a great idea we need to do that and yeah he he went with it from there and so i think they’re going to put a safety video together that so now at least you have to watch the video then come out and sign the paper yes so you can say you didn’t oh i didn’t read that i just signed it yeah but you sit through that video that’s right and you you did see everything that this piece of paper says that’s right that’s right and and fabulous idea uh and i i’m with you i’ve seen that in other other deals as well when i went white water rafting i had to i had to watch a video yes five minute thing or whatever but uh but it gives you the safety tips you need now i want to talk a little bit about zoning zoning’s kind of a hot topic and has been for quite a while uh you know zoning okay so the best way i can say this is it’s not something that’s uh uncommon it’s the parishes that surround us they have zoning they all have zoning yeah so um essentia parish has it baton rouge has it um tell me about what zoning the positive of zoning what will that give you that you don’t have now the the positive from the council side is right now if it meets the ordinance we can can’t stop it we can’t stop it we we can’t do nothing but make you abide by these ordinances and that’s it yeah zoning does give us the opportunity to say and i’m gonna bring i’m gonna use this for an instance because mr girlinghouse had one on duff road a big subdivision that we just felt like that road just couldn’t handle it yeah it wasn’t big enough for this subsidized subdivision but it met the ordinance yeah we could not stop it where with zoning we can say no you’re not putting that on that road yeah if you find another way in or it’s not hot four align it instead of two line it whatever right so so it does give the council a little more authority and power to be able to say uh no we’re going to protect the citizens that live there now right versus the ones that are coming with this subdivision which can be an issue because those citizens do come to y’all and they say hey you know mr m i think it was mr mcmorris had a subdivision coming up with something like 1200 houses or something and and they meet the ordinance there’s nothing he can do to stop that from happening and that’s zoning just gives you in my opinion the the authority to use common sense to say hey we’re not trying to maybe stop you from putting this neighborhood in but if you’re gonna do it here’s what we need we need four lanes instead of two we need you know whatever it may be or if it’s a you know a rock plant or something like that that everybody’s throwing a fit over you can stop that and i’m gonna tell you it’s it’s extremely important right now because i was in a meeting last night with gravity eight drainage and uh one of the guys there does a lot of work with ascension parish and the olympics repairs and he told us get ready yeah because with all the stuff that’s going on in ascension right now with their council and their drainage and their fighting you know they’ve put a halt to any development over there what these developers are going to find somewhere to develop they have to yeah well let’s just go across the river in livingston and let’s start developing right you know so we need this zoning to be able to control that yes you know and protect our people that live here and i can’t say that enough and you know i was probably about in my second year my first term when uh i always say tracy but me and tracy talk all the time and we were talking about something and brought that up about you know what about the people that live here now yes and it puts you in office you know it clicked and it’s like you know we’ve got to start looking at the people that live here we’ve got to worry about them and quit worrying about these subdivisions that are coming and you know because i’ve had people come in for subdivisions and be complaining because the wooded area behind their subdivision they’re going to extend that and make it a more of a subdivision make it bigger yeah you know a new filing yeah well i like sitting on my back porch and watching the squirrels run up and down the trees and you know and i’m like well guess what the subdivision that you’re living in used to be the woods behind my house yeah good point you know i used to live on buddy ellis and you know when they built that huge woodland crossing over there i sold and left yeah you know because my backyard was four or five thousand acres of woods yes yeah you know and i moved up you know back north to walker kind of north side zuma walker area and i got my woods behind the house again and yeah you know yeah it’s it’s a definitely a needed thing so i guess the obvious question is is what does it require is it just a vote of a council or is it something you have to take that’s a little tricky there i mean technically the council can’t just enforce it and say hey we have zoning yeah you know um i think it’s kind of a topic that gets a little thrown back and forth between the council of do we want to just do it do we want to take it to the vote of the people you know but it gets to the point where you know the the people voted us to be their voice yes you know correct so if we’re going to them every time we have a major decision they’re not going to have faith in us right you know and and it should be you know hey we put our faith in you to be our voice yeah if you think this is right you should vote for it 100 and put it in and and i i really feel there’s a huge need for zoning in our parish you know control the chaos and um you know i can remember when walker wasn’t zoned yeah you know when they started talking about zoning it was like this is gonna be the death of walker you know it’s gonna destroy everything and you know what the sun come up the next day everybody’s still living the way they always lived it’s just you have a little bit better way to control your development in your in your area 100 and we don’t have enough control over that right now 100 and and it’s important to mention that nobody is necessarily anti-growth you just for smart growth right and there’s a difference between those two things that uh because you know any i i’m not picking on developers here or anybody else but once you follow that initial ordinance you’re not gonna necessarily go above and beyond uh you’re gonna do what you are required to do and that’s it you know because that’s money and look we we get lucky sometimes with some of these developers absolutely they will work with us yes i had one that’s coming up north of walker on walker north around friendship road they did the subdivision it was literally right on the edge of walker north you know and they had both the entrances coming on french friendship road this little small parish road sure and i just said look we just repaved that road two years ago yeah y’all gonna have all your trucks coming in there building it why are y’all’s main entrance not off that state highway yeah and i mean i know why it’s other permits it’s you know requirements of the state now and but look michael and taylor was engineers they went back to the developer come back to me within a week and said hey we’ll agree we’re going to change it we’re going to have an entrance off of that you know we’re going to make sure all our construction vehicles come in off of that entrance and yeah we’re not going to tear that parish road up fantastic so it sometimes you do get that but sometimes you get them to say nope yeah meet the ordinance that’s it you know that’s it yeah so that’s what zoning you know to wrap up that subject that’s what zoning will give you i personally am 100 for zoning i think it’s something that’s been needed for a long time for a long time especially when you see the kind of growth that we’re seeing here in livingston parish you really need another safety uh mechanism there to control some of that uh so let’s talk a little bit about what’s it seems like it’s always a subject in livingston parish and that is uh drainage um you know it didn’t it didn’t take a flood of 2016 to really get people focused on it but it sure helped yes you know and and uh so the amazing thing and what what some people may be shocked to find out is there some there are a couple districts that are either very low funded or totally unfunded yes in the parish believe it or not there are districts that have no funding whatsoever for drainage so i guess the question i would have is why are they unfunded well because the people won’t vote it in yeah it’s it’s as simple as that you know they’ve they’ve tried to pass the same millage that the other districts passed yeah you know set it up the same way and it i i’m pretty sure it’s when at least two times to the people yeah and it’s been denied um now i think the first time was probably late 90s and then we tried again right after the flood so it ain’t like it was a throw it right back on the ballot type thing and and try to get it in uh we did we did a i felt like we didn’t do enough homework when we tried to do it after the flood it was you know we we need we see a need now we had this flood let’s hurry up and do it hurry up and do it and yeah i just thought we pushed it too fast and the people let us know we pushed it too fast yes but now that was two districts that were unfunded it was i think it was six and seven um which is probably two-thirds of the parish that’s a lot of areas yeah you know so it’s basically everything east of walker yes which is also everything south of gentleman walker yes you know so the you know your districts that are actually funded are watson walker and denim yes you know so basically once it comes through denim and walker it’s hitting an area that’s not funded and that’s why it’s still backing up on them right and you just nailed it for me the the problem when you have unfunded districts for me is okay i live in the denham springs area so i have you know we have a great gravity drainage district here and and uh we’re well funded but when there’s problems you know up there or below me rather it’s still coming back on me um so it would behoove me to to have every district funded um and one of the questions i would ask is has you know parish-wide drainage having just basically one district control uh over the whole parish is something that some parishes in louisiana have done is that something y’all possibly looked at we’ve had that discussion numerous times i think the issue is is because of the three districts that are funded they basically don’t even want to come to the table until the rest of the pair starts paying their part okay and i can understand that yeah you know we’re paying we’re got ours right you all need to start paying once y’all do we’ll come to the table we’ll figure it out yeah i i’ll i have brought up an idea that i didn’t think we needed to just make it one drainage district for the whole parish but basically we get the east side funded and then we come up with what’s called a super board where you have a create a board this is a paris wide and you get a member from each district off of each board on this board and at least they’re working together yes you know so if we start working on a canal that runs through three different districts they all know about it hey let’s all get on this do each one of us do what’s our part and it’s clean from top to bottom right you know so you don’t necessarily have to combine it and just make it one district we just need it all funded yes and then we can start working together and and truly make this work out right yes and you know look i i’m no different than anybody else when i go vote for something i see the word tax on it or anything you know it’s almost automatic that you you want to say no but there are some not all taxes are bad some of them uh are good things and and without them we wouldn’t have you know a sheriff’s department that runs as it does uh libraries things like that it’s a lot i mean look we we just uh had the people re-passed the road tax yeah and i’ve had some people call me and say i’m not going to vote for that you know how bad our roads are and i’m like how bad you think they’ll be if we don’t you know if we don’t have this money to do what we are doing the best thing we can do is just take all the asphalt back up and go back to gravel roads right because they don’t cost nothing i mean you just send the grader down there and add a little gravel every now and then that’s it so it you know we we got some issues with the with the road tax money that a lot of people don’t understand that you know the bond that was taken out at the beginning basically ate up all the money yeah and we were we were crippling along trying to get through what little bit of money we had for a long time because everything was spent on the front end yes and uh you know now that we have the new tax the bond is paid now councilman delats brought up about doing a bond again and there’s a bunch of us we’re just like no we we know what it’s like doing a bond let’s see what what happen with a pay as you go yeah and and then after you’ve done that a couple of years we can compare them and say okay which one works out better sure you know yeah it’s nice to have a little extra money coming in that used to be going out and yeah and you can dedicate that maybe somewhere else and and uh and all of those sorts of things but you’re you’re exactly right in that um the road that you just brought up as a good example think about how bad it would be without that tax yeah you know and and you know and and to get back on the drainage we we had a meeting last night for gravity eight which we combined six and seven and created eight yes so basically everything in the parish that is not funded is now gravity district eight okay and what we’re trying to do is create a way to start collecting money and what we have found is you know we’re lacking on impact fees and things like that yes and and we’ve addressed that and that’s starting to come around what’s always hurt that side of the parish is the way the ordinance reads it says that you can that the funded districts can collect these fees so it doesn’t allow so if you build over in this area you don’t have to pay the fee that you would have to pay over here yeah in the funded districts and i’m like well that’s not right no so why don’t we just change the ordinance to say you know not funded districts but drainage districts yes you know if it’s an established drainage district you have to pay these impact fees yes then that allows us to at least start collecting some money yes you know we’ll start collecting some money and get started you know and that way when we do go to the people to ask for whatever we come up with a millage a tax a fee you know it’s you know and i’m gonna have to say this is tracy’s saying that he’s gonna get on to me but it’s not just ink on the paper yeah we have actually started doing something yeah you know we’re collecting fees we’re you know we’re working on getting crew a crew established you know i mean we got to buy equipment and everything like that so one of the discussions we had is right now it might just be feasible to use a contractor yeah you know we use a contractor until we can get to the point where we’re collecting the money to to do all this stuff yeah it’s it’s huge and you know for those that aren’t familiar with what an impact fee is it’s studies have shown look you stick a shovel in the ground and you take a shovel of dirt out you’re affecting drainage somewhat maybe not that much but you’re affecting it somewhat even with a little shovel of dirt well the problem is you have development going on and they are changing the entire topography of the lamb when they do this and you know people always say well i had a house built next to mine and they built higher than me and it threw all the water on me it’s kind of that on a very large scale so these impact fees that are proposed and what these will do is give more money uh to the to the parish to where they can basically control it and do things like buy equipment and all that sort of stuff uh the impact fees i think would go to the districts the gravity drainage districts and uh and all of that so it without funding for this stuff it just kind of stops you can’t do anything with that money correct correct i mean that’s the that’s that’s the was the number one topic when they said they wanted to have the meeting i said the first thing on the agenda should be funding yes you know because if we don’t get funding we can’t do nothing and you know uh we actually made an agreement last night with quality engineers to be our engineering over that group which they do uh district one gravity drainage which is a good thing because now you have someone that knows where we’re trying to get 100 you know they know what direction we’re going uh he brought that he brought a lot to the table and basically telling us about grants you know so that once we start getting some money and we have some in the pot he can help us go chase grants yeah so we could double that money triple that money by go getting grants and doing things like that and uh he he i think quality is going to be a a huge help in getting all this going because of of just their knowledge and already doing gravity one and local folks local folks right there at a french settlement area so uh quality engineering and they’re very well known for their uh especially their what they deal with with regard to drainage and things like that grants and finding grants and all that sort of thing so good deal that’s that’s great news now uh in addition to your to the unfunded districts with with regard to drainage people might be surprised that the district 12 fire department uh is totally unfunded totally unfunded let me say that again you got a fire department that has no funds not a good thing um but you got some great volunteers over there yeah we got um you know now fire district 12 is uh basically satsung yeah yeah in the town of livingston uh now the town of livingston was kind of cut out of fire district 12. so fire district 12 actually wraps around the town olympics wow you know um but the majority of it is to the west which would be satsuma area yeah back in it’s been 30 years ago 30 years ago they made a deal fire district 12 did with the town of livingston fire district 12 gets a 30 000 a year state credit that a check just wrote to the district right so they just made a deal with the town of livingston we’ll give you that check every year and y’all be our fire department now you go back 30 years ago wasn’t much around there right cost of living wasn’t that much then right thirty thousand dollars went a long ways yeah thirty thousand dollars nowadays they can’t even put the fuel in the truck yeah and when i first got elected mayor jones was still in there me and him talked about it we had some good ideas you know we we were going to start pushing it and that’s when he got sick he stepped down uh and then he passed away and we had another mayor and we talked a couple of times the mayor after him and um he was he was just new you know and i just really couldn’t get to the table with him on it and we had a couple of discussions and then you know four years just isn’t very long and next thing you know he was running for police chief and he’s not running for mayor again yeah so uh now jt jonathan taylor’s the mayor and he’s new and i’ve i’ve done had two good discussions with him and and he’s kind of understanding and and i really feel like me and jt is going to get it worked out good we’re going to figure out a way to make it happen but uh to me it’s one of them taxes that it’s easy to go to the people for yeah because if you don’t have a funded district your insurance rates are going to be ridiculous yeah so that’s a great point if the town of livikston ever says we don’t want your 30 thousand dollars we can’t cover your area any longer you know right now over 50 percent of their calls is outside of the town limits which is fire district 12. you know and and it’s really right at that point where it’s about to get to the point where the town can’t afford it yeah you know they need a new truck they need new equipment and they just can’t afford to keep doing this so if they were to ever just say we’re done we’re not taking care of 12. yeah what the people’s insurance rates would be in that area oh it’d be crazy it would be crazy it really would be crazy and and i wouldn’t want to do nothing but the same thing the other districts are doing yeah just whatever they’re paying you pay you know and we can then create a volunteer station you know to where we have a truck and a station with volunteers yeah and still have a deal with the town of livingston and i mean you get better coverage your ratings would probably be better your insurance rates would drop you know so to me you yeah you get a new tax but your insurance rates would drop so it would almost drop enough that it actually pays for your taxes 100 so i watch you know and attend council meetings and and i say watch lately because we’ve been doing them on zoom and all those sorts of things which i i kind of like because it’s convenient for one thing and uh and it enables you know to me there’s a positive to it because while it may be hard to get people out to a meeting you know middle of the week uh it’s easier for them to just punch up their computer and and everybody’s on zoom if they have something to say they can take advantage of it um those sort of things so it’s actually been something that after i got used to it i’d rather enjoy it it’s uh it’s very convenient um but you’re kind of the i would say the calm voice on the council and and um obviously have your your ducks in a row um and and your information is is uh is something that i admire about you you know what you’re talking about when you when you talk and and uh and so it’s important to mention some of your accomplishments that i wanted to mention you’re actually the current chair of the finance committee i i’ve been that since this term and i’ve been on the finance committee since i was elected yes so back in 2015 i got on the finance committee and i stayed on it and then when we started our new term i become chairman yeah and was vice chair of of uh of the was it the finance committee you were vice chair of or the no the in the council the council i was vice chair the second year we were in and then i was chairman in the third year which would be 2018 was your chairman year yes yeah so a lot of experience there in the leadership aspect of of the council and look chairing a finance committee is is not the easiest thing in the world i would imagine you know it’s a lot of numbers and it’s a lot of i tell people they ask me about the council meetings a lot because they know i watch them in attendance and i tell them you know 90 of it is something that is necessary but not the most exciting thing you’re looking at plots you’re looking yeah i mean and i’ve i’ve i’ve actually done an uh other podcast with mchugh which he’s you know the news is our journal yes and we do when we have hot topics we typically go to him to get it out yes you know absolutely but they don’t come often you know a lot of it is just kind of repetition you know somebody subdividing land you know yeah you know my parents are sick and i want to put a trailer in the back and i need a waiver to do that and you know and then on the topic of waivers i’m not big on waivers yeah um but if you give me a reason yeah you know like that i will i’ll vote for it yes but if you tell me man if you let me give me a waiver to do this i get one more lot out of my 500 lots no yeah no

i’m not voting for that right you know absolutely but you know same thing it took me about two years to really understand that yeah and say you know wait a minute you know i i’m not giving you a waiver just to make a little bit more money right you know i’m not doing that and uh you know i’ve i’ve said this before that you know i understand where people get at with term limits and to me it’s based more on what’s happening in washington national politics and national politics gets too associated with local politics and we’re not like that we’re guys and gals that live in this parish we just want to make our home better you know we want to make it safe for our kids we want our kids to want to stay here yes you know i don’t want to have to travel to you know tennessee because that’s where my grandkids live honestly i want them to stay right here you know and and that’s why i do this you know i want to make sure that my kids want to stay here i want your kids to stay here yes my wife for sure i want to be on the walker side and you’re on the downside and we’re waving at each other you know i mean 100 percent and that’s man that’s a great way of of putting that and that’s you know it’s important that people realize that because they do they get so tied into the national politics and you know one thing um i i’ve obviously heard all the arguments for and against uh term limits but one thing i’ll tell you about term limits that that i would say as a negative is you get good people uh in office whoever may be locally and you lose them at some point yes and you can’t stop it it’s term limited and that’s what i was getting at is you know it takes it really takes you a turn to really understand because like we said it’s a part-time job right we’re not sitting in there 10 hours a day learning how to do this it’s when things happen we learn yes you know and you know other than the you know yeah when we decided to run we were given the home rule charters yeah you know that’s a book you can read and learn yeah you know it’s not very big but when you open up that book with the ordinances yeah that’s a different monster there yeah and uh it i really feel like people they’ll we want a new councilman every turn yeah that’s not good yeah it’s really not good because you never you’re going to have a guy learning as soon as he gets to know what he’s right he’s doing all he’s doing you’re getting rid of him and he’s got another guy that’s got to learn how to do it and then you get rid of that one and and i see the benefits of keeping guys and like i said you don’t need term limits to get rid of somebody right all you got to do is go vote against them and you can get rid of them yeah you know we showed that in 2015 when we completely got a whole new council that’s right and the paris was tired of what was going on and the fighting and fussing and they said hey we’re we’re not doing this and they clean house yeah i mean you always have that option of just voting someone out and so technically people you know every every so many years they’re up for election it’s it’s uh you know it’s a new i was in sales my whole life and and one thing with sales is every month it was a new month you know you could have been the best that month before and but you’re zero yeah and so that’s kind of you know it it rolls around and if you’re not happy with that person you could always vote them out whereas if there’s term limits that even if you’re happy with them they’re going they got to go they’re going they got to go i can think of several people right now that are term limited and i’m like you know it’s going to hit our representatives hard this year yeah yeah we have three of our four that are termed out yeah you know so that means we lose all of them connections that they have yes and we’re going to acknowledge knowledge you’re going to have three new people come into them places that don’t have a clue what’s going on they have to learn the job and it’s a part-time job too yeah just like the council so you’re not doing it full-time that’s right you know you’re trying to learn how to you know you at that state you’re dealing with people all over the state you’ve never met these people in your life yes you know so who who can i trust who can i you know what do i need to do who do i need to talk to to get this done where you just lost the guy that was here over term limits yeah and you know and and i i didn’t really understand that when i first got into politics yeah and then when we started putting on the ballot you know because the people wanted to vote for it i’m you know when people want something i have no problem with it don’t matter what i think yeah i’m not elected to do what’s best for me i’m elected to do what’s best for my people that put me in that spot hundred percent so i voted for things before that i really didn’t like yeah but i knew that’s what was best for my district in the parish so that’s how i voted and that’s that’s the way you want your your uh your councilman or whoever to to vote is the majority of the people they represent and and i’ve all i’ve always told people my opinion would only matter if it was uh 50 50 and i had the tie breaking vote then my opinion matters and look my district is kind of unique because you know i’m like you said the convoys the middle guy yeah i am the middle guy yeah my parish my district probably touches more of the other districts than anybody else yeah you know i think there’s only one district that i i don’t touch which is john wascombe’s yeah this is the only one that mine does not touch yeah and then my district also i have district 2 and district five of five of drainage districts that are funded and then the whole rest of mine’s not um so i have some of the city of walker some of the town of livingston i have country folks you know i have a lot of wooded area uh you know whatever there is in the issue anywheres in the parish that this in my district yeah you know i i deal with all of it yeah you know i don’t i don’t have just the issues of the city people i have that too and i have the country and i have a town you know and sat soon was on the verge of being you know they they were trying to you know be a municipality just not too long ago yeah you know so uh i that was pretty close to being a village or a town right there yeah you know to i’ve i’ve dealt with it all and some issues i wish i’d never had to deal with yeah you know i’ve had to sit there and look at family and friends in the face and just say no yeah and that’s hard to do i would love to help you but you know one of the things i’ve always said is if i follow the rules and follow the book you can’t be wrong that’s right you know honey if if they don’t like it i can change them rules yeah but right now my job is to follow these rules and do what they say that’s it that’s it and nobody can hold you you know or hopefully you wouldn’t you would hope people wouldn’t hold you uh accountable for following the rules i mean you’ve gotta you know you’ve gotta lean back on that and and put personal relationships aside sometimes and that sucks and yes you know uh you you never want to do that because you’ve been here your whole life yeah and and you know a lot of people and i’m not going anywhere i’m staying right here love it love it and uh you’re doing a great job um i you know my hope with podcasts like this that i do especially with councilman is i familiarize people with with what they do because it’s it’s important it’s it’s a huge part of this parish and one thing i will say about every member of that council is all of you i believe love livingston parish and uh believe me they if you saw what they get paid it’s not much and it certainly ain’t worth the work involved so they do it out of service they do it out of their love of the parish and they do it to make it better for my kids their kids grandkids all those sorts of things so so great job you’ve been doing it anything else you want to talk about well i i would like to touch a little bit back on the storm yes um i know we’re on our second round of pickup yep you know cleaning up uh and i do i know a lot of people don’t know that the the parish is not responsible for all pickup right we’re responsible for parish roads yes state and dotd are responsible for those that live on a state highway yes you know so we i got a call the other day state highway you know they just keep passing me up they won’t pick my stuff up what’s going on and you know and i called and said hey can you call somebody you know yeah and they did you know they called they went over there and picked them up but you know that’s really that’s dotd and we just don’t have no control over that right but they do work together sure i mean they they they communicate with each other they try to work together um so they’re on the second round to pick up uh i know i think they’ve started doing the pickup on what’s considered house debris yeah home debris you know fences shingles yeah a tree fell on your house took half of it down all that type of stuff uh but it has to be separated it cannot all be in the same pile yeah uh i actually think in the last zoom meeting you had asked a question about it yeah yeah and i didn’t know that they actually have one truck that picks the heavy stuff up and another truck that picks up the limbs yeah i didn’t either you know i figured they just reached and grabbed the whole pile and go with it yeah you know uh but that that was explained to us in that meeting yes and good information yeah but i was able to ten days after the storm uh the sheriff it called wanting to get a couple of councilman opportunity to go fly and look at our waterways and our canals yes and uh i said yeah i would love to so uh it it was unbelievable yeah you know like all the work that we did after the flood of cleaning our rivers and canals it’s like we did nothing it’s worse it’s worse the tick fall from the signaling line all the way to the interstate is devastating wow it it’s you know there’s a tree every 50 yards yeah across that river you know and then a lot of people when they say tick fall they think down there where tick faulty yeah it’s happening yeah big wide river the the park that comes through the parish up here in the north it’s not like that it’s a small river that comes through that you can walk across you know it’s kind of like the amit up there you know where they’re tubing and stuff at so it’s it’s a small area so a tree falling across it is big time oh yeah you know and but uh i would say this the pilot went up the day after the storm yeah so he was able to see when he was really really bad yeah so as we’re going up he’s telling me you know how bad it’s going to be what i’m going to see we start flying around and he just says i am totally impressed with our people yeah you know how much cleanup they’ve done on their own you know he said man all this stuff before was trees everywhere and they’re all gone yeah so uh so i i just that’s a shout out to our people yes you know you know we see that y’all step up when it’s time to step up that’s right and you know the most resilient community in livingston parish uh i think anywhere in the world i mean i i i would say that wholeheartedly the the the stuff that we have been through jeff is uh would have killed communities uh in 2016 would have killed communities after these hurricanes and what do we do we just some good old boys getting out there and picking stuff up and making it happen and everybody’s uh banding together and it doesn’t matter your economic status in life or anything else just get after it you know and i don’t need no help my first my very first year of politics i had three months into my term we had a tornado tore up the town of livingston yeah you know i mean it basically went right down the railroad tracks and just tore everything wow and then like a month after that we had a flood that happened in the holden area along the tickfaw river yeah that flooded a lot of people out you know and then later on that year we had the 2016 flood yeah you know all this happened in my first term of politics first year ever in politics you know and it’s like i hope it’s not like this all the time oh i’m telling you i mean that’s enough to like grow you up real quick and politics you know john wascon was the chairman then yeah and and it it really kind of halted things yeah you know like we can’t you know we were all out we had i think john flooded frog flooded tracy flooded bubba harris flooded yeah so i mean that’s four of the nine and i might be missing one another one i’m not not i don’t think jeff favorite flooded but but i know four for sure yeah that we’re flooded leighton rick’s house flooded yeah you know so uh they were having to help get the parish back together and still deal with their issues as well yes you know and uh i i was extremely lucky but man i think i lived in a boat for three days getting people out of their homes and uh i mean i was over here off of jubin back up in that area just getting people out you know and i mean it was devastating with but the the following year tracy was the chairman and the whole year was just about recovery yeah it was nothing but recovery yeah so the third year i take over as chairman and it’s like okay two years of business here it comes you know we’re fixing to hit you hard because we haven’t been able to do nothing for two years right and uh and it was just like wow well yeah they had a good man for the job you know and that’s we had some tricky topics then and uh you know yeah luckily the people handled it with class and everybody was escorted out i mean they said that what they needed to say and sure we got through it and yeah it’s well it’s a lot and you know i had mayor landrieu in here and uh and and he shortly i mean he wasn’t the mayor but i don’t know maybe maybe a year lucky because him and john were running against each other the year before we ran yeah because when john actually stayed campaigning for two straight years yes he didn’t even have a break yes and i was like wow yeah and loses his whole town ninety percent and i’m like you know to it took a in my opinion a special person to have that job and make it through that and and really i think that the city of denham springs has come a long way yes in in in a short amount of time and and i credit the mayor for a lot of that and his staff and of course the people around him and the people in general livingston parish people man man they there’s something i love i love representing this parish i mean you know my like i said before mom the thing that gets me the most is when i can’t help yes i believe that 100 thank you for the work you’re doing your service to the community over all these years uh is is something that that uh you know you can’t replace and you’re a knowledgeable guy you’ve done so much uh in the past with the council and we hope to see more out of you in the future uh i’m not going anywhere yeah i’m gonna be here for a while very good glad to hear that thank you for coming on anytime you want to come on and talk about anything going on man i’m here for you just call and we’ll get it fixed up thank you thank you i appreciate it and i thank all of the listeners out there the local leaders of the podcast for listening please share comment subscribe do all of those things that we love uh for you guys to do we are very blessed to tell to tell the story of business owners and public officials all the time here on this show so thank you very much for that once again i am jim chapman reminding you love your community support local business and keep leaving thank you very much

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