Keep Bossier Beautiful has overcome cuts to budget and staff
A year after having its budget slashed and director position dissolved, Keep Bossier Beautiful has come back stronger than ever.
Due to budget constraints, Bossier City cut its litter prevention, beautification, and recycling education non-profit from the non-government organizations part of the 2011 General Fund Budget. They responded by terminating their director and relying on their own donations.
In a year's time, they have almost doubled their board with motivated members and have a modest budget to start off the year.
“It's resurfaced with a group of volunteers with their own initiative who wanted to get involved,” said Mayor Lorenz “Lo” Walker. “We definitely have some work to do and we have an enthused bunch of volunteers ready to tackle what needs to be done.”
Headed up by new President Patti Richter, the board member got involved last year after former president Mary Ann Van Osdell encouraged her to join.
“We're really the community,” said Richter. “We all live here and want our city to not be caught in a bad situation where the litter and pollution is astronomical so it's too much to do anything about.”
Richter is eager to help the community she lives and grew up in.
“It's a nice place and I want to keep it a nice place. As a citizen of the community, you should want your city to look as good as it can to make sure you're not a part of the problem,” she said.
The organization has almost doubled its board to 12 members and two liasions.
“I'm really enthused,” said Walker. “They have added a lot of knowledgable and eager board members and want to accomplish a lot.
This began last year with an initiative to building up their members by urging recruitment of new members. They all found an enthusiastic response despite people's already busy schedule.
“Everybody had said 'Yes,'” said Richter. “And most of these people were involved in other boards or their jobs.”
The board consists of: Tom Coday, vice president; Randy Brown, past president; Bart DeMoss, treasurer; Jana Morgan; Billy Montgomery; Tom Lawson; Gary Nippers; Suzanne Stinson; Robin Williams; Sonja Bailes; Pam Glorioso, City of Bossier City liasion; and Doug Lauter, Bossier Sheriff's Office liasion.
“We had a few people who kept (KBB) going, so they've been around and now we're needing more presence in the community because of what we're about,” said Richter. “There are budget cuts everywhere, so any organziation that can help with volunteers it makes it a little more doable.”
The board has already gotten going this year by ensuring the city's gateways are inspected and kept up. So far, they've had lights replaced, landscaping done, and Mayor Walker is inspecting the flags.
“We've assessed all the areas and reported back last year and gone from there,” said Richter. “Everyone knows what they want to do and if they have the resources to do it, they're going to do it.”
As for what lies ahead, KBB will continue their usual programs — Arbor Day tree planting at NWLA War Vets Home, Earth Day programs at eight elementary schools to recycle and reuse, and Sept. 11 ceremony at the Liberty Garden.
“We don't overwhelm our board with things to do, we want to focus on a few things and that makes sure we get them done right,” said Richter.
As for the Earth Day programs, Richter is hoping to see classes start recycling bins and take home trees to plant.
“Teachers are also involved with this and talk about recycling before we get there,” she said.
She is also eager to get into the organization's offices located at 707 Barksdale Blvd., Bossier City, investigate about applying for local and state grants.
“We like being down in that location in Old Bossier,” she said.
As for the mayor, he's rooting for the organization because he knows an improved quality of life means Bossier City looks more attractive to anyone interested in what the city has to offer.
“We who reside here take interest in how our city looks and with visitors to our community, they get a feel for what kind of city you are with how neat you are and I hope we can improve that to being a clean, litter-free environment,” said Walker.