Jeff Davis to contribute more for LDVA office

<p class="p1">JENNINGS — The Jeff Davis Parish Police Jury is being asked to pay more under a new cooperative endeavor agreement with the Louisiana Department of Veterans Affairs for the local LDVA service office.</p><p class="p1">The Police Jury, along with local municipalities, provide financial support to the office to help cover operating costs, including salaries, training, maintenance and internet service.</p><p class="p1"><span class="s1">The total financial support from the parish and municipalities would increase to $20,000 a year in January under a new agreement being considered between the Police Jury and the LDVA.</span></p><p class="p1">Police Jurors John Marceaux and Steve Eastman asked that the panel delay signing the agreement to allow the Police Jury to check with local municipalities.</p><p class="p1">“We need to make sure that the city and all (others) are willing to pay their share like they have been,” Eastman said. “I don’t see why they wouldn’t because this is for the veterans.”</p><p class="p1">Marceaux said the Police Jury will continue to provide its share of the funding under the current contract, which ends Dec. 31.</p><p class="p1">Under the current agreement, the Police Jury pays 41 percent, or $124.97 a month, but it could increase to $880 a month, according to some estimates, beginning Jan. 1. The panel also provides office space for the local service office at the parish fairgrounds in Jennings.</p><p class="p1">“We are doing more than our share by furnishing them with an office,” Police Jury President Donald Woods said.</p><p class="p1">The city of Jennings now pays 34 percent, or $103.06 monthly; Welsh pays 11 percent, or $32.07; Lake Arthur pays 9.27 percent, or $28.18; Elton pays 4 percent, or $12.07; and Fenton pays 1.2 percent, or $3.65 a month.</p><p class="p1">The percentage each municipality pays depends on the number of veterans residing in the various areas of the parish.</p><p class="p1">LDVA Deputy Assistant Secretary of Benefits Alfred “Al” Leger told police jurors this week that the service office helped bring in $10.4 million for veterans in Jeff Davis Parish, with each veteran receiving about $5,300.</p><p class="p1">Leger said the office is getting another counselor and hopes to be fully staffed within six months.</p><p class="p1">“We have not allowed this parish to go not being served,” Leger said. “We have someone serving the parish right now and plan to have staff back up to par very shortly.”</p><p class="p1">Services are provided three days a week at the office in Jennings and two days a week at the Southwest Louisiana Veterans Home, also in Jennings.</p><p class="p1">The contract now being considered outlines what each entity would provide for the other, Leger said.</p><p class="p1">“We believe the contact delineates what we are going to do for you as a state government agency and what is expected of your agency,” he said.</p><p class="p1">“You are more than meeting that expectancy by providing us with an office at the fairgrounds. I don’t want anybody to think you are not doing what needs to be done.”</p><p class="p1">He told the Police Jury that the new agreement would provide the panel and the LDVA “a firm ground to stand on.” In the past, all the Police Jury had was a letter with a budget on it without any explanation, Leger said.</p>

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