The celebrations are over and it’s back to reality.
Minus the LSU-Clemson football showdown for the national championship Jan. 13 at the Superdome, the holidays have ended. It’s now time to look at what looms ahead for what likely will be a very busy 2020.
Let’s look at what the year may hold.
For the Pointe Coupee Parish Council, it’s the second year of Home Rule Charter. The council tweaked some of the ways it did business and made sweeping changes in others.
The council made significant strides toward greater fiscal management. Much of that came into play through the Home Rule Charter, which included provisions for a “Rainy Day” fund and a reserve fund.
It’s a tough adjustment for the parish, particularly when the list of needs and demands outweigh the sum of available funds.
The same applies to the Pointe Coupee Parish School Board. The renewal of the 11.76-mill property tax in November, but it does not mean the worries are over.
The millage covers only the status quo on building and maintenance. It does not take in account wear and tear on the campuses, most of which were built more than 60 years ago.
Costs of supplies, technology and insurance add to the debt load. Starting salaries on an average of $10,000 per year less than schools in surrounding parishes will continue to lead teacher migration to other school districts to earn a bigger salary.
The attrition also deprives the system of seasoned educators who can use their experience to improve the quality of education.
Pointe Coupee Parish teachers have done well despite limited resources, but the lack of funds will keep the system at a disadvantage against other districts.
It will require a willingness to think outside the box on solutions to the woes the Pointe Coupee school district faces. The same approach to the problems likely will maintain a status quo, a route the parish public school system cannot afford to continue.
For the Port of Pointe Coupee, the merger with the Port of Greater Baton Rouge could be one of the brighter stories for the future. The annexation onto the governing board of the nation’s eighth-largest port could lead to new industry in the area.
It may take years to realize the potential of the annexation, which the Louisiana Legislature approved in the 2019 session. The merger could bring new industries to the area.
The lack of economic development in the parish has been one of the biggest hindrances in Pointe Coupee’s growth.
It will take a strong push by the Parish Council, municipal governments and leaders of local and regional economic development. Improvement in test scores also could bolsters chances to lure new industry to the area looking for a strong workforce.
Progress, and not status quo, should top the priority list in Pointe Coupee as well as any other parish or county across the nation. It only comes when all entities operate on the same page for a common goal.
It’s a new year, a clean slate and a chance to move