LIVINGSTON PARISH, LA (WAFB) - It's an automatic win for the parish president in Livingston. Despite talks of an opponent, no one challenged Layton Ricks this year. With four years under his belt, the parish leader said there have been some accomplishments and there are some areas that need work.
Ricks said number one on the list is a better working relationship with the parish council. He said that did not happen during his first term.
"The last six, seven, eight months have been much better. Everybody says well, it's cause it's an election year. That may be part of that," said Ricks.
Three council members are not running again. The rest all have opponents.
Ricks said when he first took office, there were some council that were allies with the previous administration, Mike Grimmer. At some points, things were tense, but within the past months things have been accomplished. For example, he said they started work on the road program. He said the first phase of that is almost complete and they are doing drainage work at the same time so the repairs last longer.
They also used funding from DOTD that Ricks said the parish was about to lose to fix several bridges.
"We got seven bridges done so far. Two bridges we're looking at now with funding. Another two or three that we're working on the design that will be done probably mid to end of 2016. One we've got to hurry with... found out the state was about to close it."
In the four years he has spent in office, the parish president said his team has made progress bringing work and play to the parish. Juban Crossing finally became a reality. He said more stores are showing an interest now in the parish shopping mall. Epic Piping announced it would build a fabrication facility in the parish, and Martin Brower also will build a food distribution center in Walker.
Ricks said creating more jobs gives people the opportunity to be able to work in their own parish.
He has not been so successful in securing funding to operate a parish animal shelter. A special group had been appointed to look into funding. Ricks said one thing he knows that would not work is a tax.
He also still wants to work on getting a parish civic center, where high school graduations, weddings and conventions can be held. Ricks said it should be self-sustained, generating funds to pay for itself.
More road work is also in the plans. One project is to link Highway 63 and Highway 22 for disaster relief for the southern part of the parish. He said it would also be a direct path to Juban and the governmental buildings. That has no funding yet.
"Do as good as we can do to reach the full potential of this parish. We've got a lot of great things coming our way."
Ricks said even though there are no term limits, he would not serve more than three terms as parish president.