Milner, Sanderson running for mayor of Choudrant

Brandon Milner (left) and Bill Sanderson (right) are running for the mayor of Choudrant.

With the Nov. 8 elections approaching, candidates can contact the Lincoln Parish Journal for advertising rates at lpjnewsla@gmail.com. 

______________________________________

By T. Scott Boatright

 

It’s been 16 years since Bill Sanderson has had to face opposition for his longtime role as mayor of the village of Choudrant.

But another lifelong Choudrant resident, Brandon Milner, has tossed his hat into the ring to run against Sanderson in the Nov. 8 election.

Sanderson has been mayor of Choudrant for 30 years since filling the unexpired term of his father, Lynn “Ikey” Sanderson, who died in office. 

The last time Sanderson faced opposition in an election was in 2006, when he brought in 57.50% of the vote. The second-place finisher that election, Democrat Jimmy McGrew, collected 39.06% of ballots.

“It’s a brand new feeling,” Sanderson said of having to campaign for the position instead of running unopposed. “But the way I’m going to do it is actually pretty simple.

“”When I went into office I developed a master plan for the community of some things that were in the works that dealt with some water and sewer infrastructure that needed to get completed. I put together a 10-year plan to try to get those done. That was in 1991 and it was all completed in 1997.”

Sanderson, who doubles as Choudrant fire chief, zoning director and certified building official (which he also serves the role of for the city of Ruston), said he and the Choudrant aldermen then started looking at longer-range plans and within a three- or four-year period developed a 20-year plan.

“In all of that, we questioned what makes Choudrant attractive,” Sanderson said. “What does the community want? What are they looking for? We actually did a survey of the entire community household to household, we came up with several things the community wanted. They wanted a safe neighborhood, they wanted good schools, they wanted the amenities that made life attractive,which included things like recreation, the safe neighborhoods, good quality water that was safe to drink, good sanitary services, and  a cost of living that was affordable.”

Sanderson said the fact that Choudrant’s population — from around 500 to more than 1,000 — has more than doubled since he took office makes him feel that village residents have  been satisfied so far.

“Where we stand currently, Choudrant is a very economical place to live,” Sanderson said. “If you choose to make Choudrant your home, you pay to the village of Choudrant zero dollars in the way of any property taxes. We have none assessed. You pay no fire service fees or dedicated taxes toward fire or police protection.

“The town operates on a 1 1/4 cents sales tax that covers our expenses for what we need to do. We work hard to keep our rates down to a minimum. Looking at the water and sewer rates, you have a very minimum base rate ranging in the $10-12 range based on your meter size and $2 per 1,000 gallons of water after that. The base sewer rate is $16 and we encourage anyone considering living here to compare cost of living to anywhere around us.”

Sanderson said it’s those primary reasons and the fact that Choudrant residents appreciate them are his motivation for running for another term as mayor.

Milner is also a lifelong Choudrant resident who has served as a Union Parish Sheriff’s deputy and a Ruston Police officer.

After being injured in a motorcycle accident in 2017 that has put him into a wheelchair, Milner said a big reason he’s running for mayor of Choudrant is that he can devote himself to the role 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

“My entire life, even at a young age, has been devoting myself to public service,” Milner said. “I can’t be a cop anymore. I’m in a unique position now. I’m more mobile now than I was when I ran for the (Lincoln Parish) Police Jury (in 2018). I can drive now and have a track wheelchair that I can throw on the back of the truck and go wherever I need to go. So I can move around and handle whatever situations that arise a lot better.

“I’m not employed by anyone else. The only boss I want is the people of Choudrant and I have the time and the energy to put into being mayor — to be available during office hours and at night. I want to have an open door policy. I’m not running for mayor for Brandon Milner to run this town solely on what I believe. I’m running for mayor so that we can do things that the people want to do.”

Milner said involving the residents of Choudrant is a part of his platform.

“I want the people of Choudrant to share in the government here,” he said. “I want them to share ideas and work with us anytime they feel they need to express something.

Milner said he would like to recruit more businesses to Choudrant.

“The way Choudrant is positioned, if it’s done correctly, we can attract people from three other parishes — north Jackson, west Ouachita and south Union along with Lincoln,” Milner said. 

Milner said better recreation for Choudrant residents is also important in his mind.

“I would like to establish a park — somewhere where people can go and enjoy themselves. A nice park. Park and recreation is something I’d like to try and improve on,” Milner said. “And I also want to finish the sewer system here. Not everybody is on city sewer, so I’d like to explore that and maintaining upkeep and drainage of city streets.”

Making Choudrant neighborhoods safer is another of Milner’s goals if elected.

“I’d like to see the speed limits lowered in certain neighborhoods,” he said. “Because right now the lowest we can get is 25 (mph) is what residents have been told. That’s a little too fast in certain areas – certain neighborhood streets – for me.

“And I’d like to improve the lighting on certain streets. We need to make sure people who might be out walking and children who might be out playing are kept safe.”

__________________________________

With the Nov. 8 elections approaching, candidates can contact the Lincoln Parish Journal for advertising rates at lpjnewsla@gmail.com. 

 


To report an issue or typo with this articleCLICK HERE