The soon-to-be consolidated gravity drainage district boards on the east and west sides of Calcasieu Parish now have seven members each, following approval by the Police Jury on Thursday.
Police jurors also agreed to move the first formal meetings from late June to late July so the new board members have enough time to go through the appointment process and get paperwork done ahead of the first meeting.
The Police Jury in March voted 9-4 to consolidate the drainage districts from seven to two. Staff recommended expanding the board membership from five to seven to ensure better representation parishwide.
"Basically every region of the parish is covered with a representative," said Alberto Galan, with the office of the parish administrator.
Adding new board members required legislative approval, with Gov. John Bel Edwards signing Senate Bill 11 into law May 30. Sen. Dan "Blade" Morrish, R-Jennings, sponsored the legislation.
Galan said parish staff and the board members are working on a set of policies and objectives "that fit for gravity drainage district operations," while following the method approved by the Police Jury earlier this year.
District 12 Police Juror Judd Bares said he has "heard nothing but good" during the transition to consolidate the drainage districts. Bares, Shalon Latour, Les Farnum and Andrepont opposed the consolidation during the March meeting.
"I've talked with the folks on my side, and they're very excited," Bares said. "They see that this is going to be better than they ever thought it would be."
Police Jury President Kevin White said the policies and procedures that varied from one district to the other were "mind-blowing."
"I can't believe they operated on some of the procedures they had," he said. "We're all one watershed here. With all of us working together the way we're doing now, Calcasieu Parish ought to drain, hopefully."
West Calcasieu board members are: Lance Trahan, James Perry, Damon Goss, Rick Fitts, Robert Hudson Jr., Nathan Spencer and Donald Stinson.
East Calcasieu board members are: Darby Quinn, Craig Schultz, Donnie Green, Mike Wittler, James "Gary" Gobert, Theodore Jones and Clinton Leger.
The West Calcasieu drainage board will hold its first meting at 6 p.m. July 29, while the East Calcasieu board will meet at 6 p.m. July 30.
The two boards will call a tax in 2020 for a replacement millage.