Persistence, more often than not, is rewarded.

Terrebonne Parish Councilman John Navy can attest to the long and challenging road that reform sometimes takes. But now, he also can boast that the reward can be worth the trouble.

Navy has tried multiple times to implement a system of oversight for the parish’s 11 recreation districts and the boards that control their finances.

Finally, this week, the council voted to go along with Navy’s plan to institute some much-needed responsibility and consistency to a system that should be working much better and more efficiently for the taxpayers and the public.

“I’m thrilled that it passed. ... I really think the people and the businesses spoke out and changed the council’s mind this time. I think the people’s voice was heard and this is a win for the people,” Navy said. “I also wanted to thank the Chamber of Commerce for helping those businesses come forward and letting their voices be heard as well when it comes to how these recreation dollars are managed.”

The labyrinth of 11 districts that divides the parish has come under increasing scrutiny lately because of questions over the services and facilities in District 11 and various questionable policies employed by District 2-3.

Each district has its own stream of tax revenue, and each district’s board decides at the local level how to spend that money.

In the vast majority of instances, the system can work adequately. Most of the board members do incredible, thankless work that can be taken for granted by the public that is so well served.

But oversight is always needed, particularly when the quality of services is so inconsistent from one district to the next.

It is difficult to understand the passion and persistence of those who oppose closer monitoring of these districts.

The priority for all these boards should be serving the public. And the priority for the Parish Council must be to ensure that the public is getting the return it deserves on the investment it pays in the form of property taxes.

Any system of oversight that makes those priorities more attainable should be welcomed by the public, the board members and the Parish Council.

The people who use the recreation facilities in Terrebonne Parish should be able to assume they will receive at least a certain level of quality – regardless of which district encompasses their homes.

Navy deserves a lot of credit for refusing to accept less than what the public deserves.

 

Editorials represent the opinions of the newspaper, not of any individual.