WALKER – All three candidates running for the District 3 seat on the Livingston Parish Council support major projects, but finding the funding is the challenge, they said.
Incumbent Maurice “Scooter” Keen, Brian Ross, and Shannon Sloan took part in the Chamber of Commerce’s Parish Council Candidate Forum on Monday at Wholly Grounds Coffeehouse in Walker.
Sloan said she supported a parish wide drainage district, which would help unfunded areas, moving funds in the budget around to help.
She added that development needs to be slowed down – “I support development but not at the expense of residents.”
“Unfunded districts have to be funded,” Keen said, “before I support a parish wide tax.” Parish wide drainage should be in the Master Plan first, then funding it comes next, he said.
“There’s a lot of issues we didn’t have until 2016," Ross said.
“We need to repair the damage from the flood, then work to expand or improve drainage.”
Why this job?
His reason for running for he council seat, Ross said, was, “I breathe, work and live in the parish. My children attend parish schools.
“I have the time and energy. I want to be here with the people, working and negotiating.”
“I take it seriously," Sloan said about her campaign. “We need more individual liberty in our government. People need to be put first.
“There’s a lot of problems to fix before we grow bigger.”
Keen called being a councilman “a job I have loved for the past four years.
“The reason I ran four years ago, without Livingston Parish and its people, I would not have anything. They supported my business.
“We’ve got a major job to do for our district in the next four years and the job doesn’t need rookies and freshmen to get in here.”
In District 3, everyone wants a parish animal control system, Keen said, “But it is not in our budget. It’s going to take everyone after it is funded to get together and come up with a plan.”
Animal control needs public awareness, Ross said, including educating people and getting more community or school involvement.
The animal shelters should be part of school field trips, he added.
Sloan said she “got a lot of blow back” on social media recently about her stance government isn’t the answer to animal control.
“I don’t think government is the best solution to a parishwide shelter. A no-kill shelter is not realistic,” she said.
Keen said enforcing litter laws with a fine would help the problem.
“Put a fine on it. They will start telling people,” once litterers are fined, he said. “We have to work with the sheriff, the Chamber and parish president,” he added.
“The ordinance needs to be enforced,” Ross said.
Denham Springs posts signs and enforce litter laws, he said.
Litter “is a pet peeve of mine,” Sloan said, but not for some people in the parish.”
Children need to be taught about litter and “see the impact of throwing something out the window (of a car).”
“People are scared when it rains,” Keen said, a fallout from the Great Flood of 2016. He cited several projects targeting drainage, including Dunn Road, Linder Road, and McAllen Road.
Ross said the drainage system needs to be upgraded by “taking the resources we have,” and using them.
Sloan said pipes put in wrong is an explain of a problem for drainage, while new development are affecting people.”
“We’re at the breaking point for Livingston Parish citizens,” Keen said. “They are saying ‘That’s enough taxes.’
Reallocating funds in the budget is an option, he added.
Ross said the anti-tax sentiment is a matter of public trust. People don’t trust how the council is spending what taxes are being collected, he said.
“I won’t support any new tax or fee,” Sloan said. “No one can convince me our government is so efficient we can’t find cuts.”