Bossier Parish Police Jury lends support to averting drastic cut - KTBS.com - Shreveport, LA News, Weather and Sports

Bossier Parish Police Jury lends support to averting drastic cuts at Fort Polk

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(Photo source: military.com) (Photo source: military.com)

Police juries across the state are asking the U.S. Army to stop personnel cuts at Fort Polk Army base in Leesville, La.

That includes the Bossier Parish Police Jury.

Members voted Wednesday afternoon to draft a formal letter to the Army requesting that 6,500 troops and civilian jobs not be cut, which is the proposed reduction in staff through the Department of the Army's Supplemental Programmatic Environmental Assessment.

Fort Polk Progress released a statement on Wednesday outlining projected economic losses as a result of that reduction.

According to Business Development Advisors (BDA) and Louisiana Economic Development (LED), the state of Louisiana would lose approximately $864 million in statewide sales, $567 million in income, $30 million in state and local income, and nearly 11,000 total jobs, both directly and indirectly.

"Despite the threat of a troop reduction at Fort Polk, Leesville is steadily making improvements to infrastructure to support a new school that will serve military families and future growth at Fort Polk," Leesville Mayor Rick Allen said in the statement.

"A loss of 8,000 jobs would continue to perpetuate a boom and bust cycle that prevents Leesville from attracting the sort of retail and recreational opportunities desired by military families."

Additionally, within the 5-parish region of impact for Fort Polk, which includes not only Vernon and Beauregard but also Rapides, Sabine and Natchitoches parishes, the same force reduction would cost:

-- $713 million in sales (output)

-- $468 million in income

-- $25 million in state and local taxes

-- over 9,000 total jobs

The Louisiana Police Jury Association is asking that formal letters be drafted from each parish's governmental body on behalf of the Vernon Parish Police Jury's request for support.

"We know that if a tremendous cut around the magnitude of 6,500 people at Fort Polk happens, it'll devastate Vernon Parish and central Louisiana, because there's a lot of people that support Fort Polk from that whole area," says Bill Altimus, Bossier Parish Administrator.

"If you have a problem in the central part of Louisiana, and it's one of the larger employment factors in that area, it'll have ripple effects not only to the base, but it'll be to the civilians, it'll be to the surrounding parishes," Altimus says.

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