As 2014 winds down into the holidays, a few observations about local government are offered in the interest of perhaps being joined in wishing happy holidays to folks who are first our neighbors and friends – and then elected officials serving Bossier Parish and Bossier City.
Frequent readers of this column know I regularly attend Bossier City Council meetings, occasionally visit the Cypress Black Bayou monthly meetings, have started more frequent attendance at Bossier Parish Police Jury meetings – and keep up with Bossier Parish School Board and Bossier Parish Sheriff activities.
I’ve met and for years observed the work of a majority of the representatives to local government and can say without much reservation that their only goals are to provide the best in public service that they can for Bossier Parish/City. Unfortunately, the public at large doesn’t always see it that way. More unfortunately, many in our Bossier community tend to lump local government in to the troublesome antics of our federal representatives.
But right here at home, large and small transportation improvements haven’t occurred by accident. In the city, ART Parkway which eventually will connect with Benton Road, Swan Lake Road, numerous new right turn lanes, and an in-progress way around Airline Drive between Plantation and Viking Drives are just a few of the driving/travel efficiencies we can appreciate.
In the parish, Airline Drive north of Viking Drive is almost unrecognizable to those of us who a couple of decades ago believed the world ended at Viking. Wemple Road is a dream to drive and Crouch, Wafer and Winfield Roads will eventually join that club. The Police Jury is actively planning the extension of the ART Parkway to Taylortown, and the Jury’s bridge upgrades continue with the same dedication that has diligently improved the parish’s transportation system – and, like the city, is bringing new commercial developments to Bossier.
None of these plans, improvements, or resulting great drives and new businesses occurred in some cosmic vacuum.
People who care and are dedicated to the improvement of Bossier City and Bossier Parish spend long hours working to develop those plans and figure out how to pay for them. And not all of them are elected; some of those folks are administrators who are as committed as the elected representatives to making Bossier City/Parish the premier place in Louisiana to live.
They’re the same people who understand the necessity of providing safe drinking water and state-of-the-art waste water systems that not only provide our residents with a way above average utility systems, but in doing so draw new economic development (jobs) to our area of northwest Louisiana. South Bossier residents are familiar with the new sewer treatment plant’s construction – but the same is occurring in north Bossier where the Parish is building a similar facility.
These are the same folks who spend countless hours working with our professional law enforcement and public safety leaders to provide the best possible security and emergency response – along with contingency planning for natural disasters. And they’re the same people who’re devoted to providing our children with a first class education.
And they’re the public servants who paved the way for a new economic sector of employment that will allow our kids to stay in northwest Louisiana – or come home — through Cyber Innovation Center’s tech growth.
It’s easy to get caught up in a national fervor that calls for “throwing the bums out” – but it’s to our advantage to take a close look at the people we’ve elected to public office right here at home and measure the job they have done for us. By and large, our local government representatives have done us well in the last decade or so.
Take a minute this holiday season to say thanks to the people who’ve demonstrated just what public service is all about.
Marty Carlson is a columnist for the BPT. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org