The talk in both the Leesville and New Llano communities has centered on the idea of the two merging with New Llano becoming a part of Leesville. Many in both communities have their fair share of questions and concern as to what a merger would mean for residents.
The Vernon Parish Chamber of Commerce President Logan Morris spoke on Tuesday night at Leesville First Assembly Of God to further explain the potential of a merger, and to answer questions from concerned citizens.
Morris said: “Our mission at the Chamber is to promote business, enhance economic development, and serve as a catalyst to improve the overall quality of life in the Vernon Parish Community”
He stated that one of the many goals behind the merger would be to “become a larger, more attractive, more competitive place for business both retail and otherwise to locate here.”
Morris also stated that Leesville has resources available to help New Llano receive better services without any new taxes.
According to Morris, The City of Leesville has $4.4 million in unrestricted reserves that can be used to match capital outlay project grants at the state level. Leesville matches 50 percent of capital outlay grant money from the State of Louisiana.
A merger would give Leesville the unique opportunity to help out with any of New Llano’s infrastructure repairs and projects.
A prevailing theme of his presentation was one of unity. Morris expressed that the idea that New Llano and Leesville were in competition with each other was simply not true. Morris said: “No matter the village, town, or city where we lay our hat. We are all Vernon Parish”
He expanded on that statement expressing his optimism for the future if both Leesville and New Llano could work together to grow Vernon Parish and improve the quality of life for all residents. Morris said: “Leesville and New Llano need each other. They need to be able to work together.”
Morris stated that six generations of his family have lived in Vernon Parish. He expressed that he has pride in his home just like many other citizens do. It is that pride that drives him to want bigger and better things for the community.
“The stuff we’re talking about is the opportunity to be better together,” Morris said.
A point that was especially emphasized during the presentation was that The Vernon Parish Chamber of Commerce was not attempting to force anyone into any kind of deal. Morris expressed that he and the chamber want the people of New Llano to be able to decide for themselves whether a merger with Leesville is what they want.
“The Chamber of Commerce is not trying to force anything down anyone's throat,” Morris said. “The reality is that the people of New Llano and the people of Leesville deserve to know what the options are. They deserve an opportunity to learn what we could be if we weren’t what we are now.”
Morris noted that the idea of a merger has been presented and talked about many times in the past, but residents of New Llano have never received the opportunity to vote on it. He expressed many times throughout the presentation that he wants the citizens to have the choice, and that no one is “rushing into anything.”
“My vision is that we are requesting that the New Llano Town Council place this on the ballot for the voters to decide, and it will be incumbent on both towns and the Chamber of Commerce to provide a true objective proposal so that an informed decision can be made.”
To view Morris’ presentation in its entirety visit the Leesville Daily Leader Facebook page. The Leesville Daily Leader will publish more details about the potential merger in upcoming articles.