Drainage a state problem

Marie Dawson

Arnaudville — Drainage problems are cropping up, especially after the recent heavy rains, but the town is limited in its ability to fix them.

Public Works director Eugene Quebedeaux told the Town Council last week that the next cleaning if the drainage ditches will come during the spring, but that the Town of Arnaudville is unable to clear ditches alongside state highways. That, he said, is the purview of the state Department of Transportation and Development.

Alderman Ricky LaGrange had inquired about the schedule of culvert cleaning, as he had noted a great deal of standing water after the last heavy rains. And drainage problems near the Adoration Chapel were brought up by Alderman Chester “Doc” Broussard. Although the problem has been fixed, he inquired as to why there was such a steep drop at the end of the drainage path. He was told that since this site is on a state highway, the state is responsible for those problems and not the town of Arnaudville.

Heavy rains in recent months have exacerbated problems such as this one throughout Arnaudville, Quebedeaux said.

In other business before the Arnaudville Board of Aldermen:

•The Utility Department stated that all work was on schedule. Mayor Kathy Richard requested an update on replacing two water lines before the next budget meeting.

•The Park and Recreations Department noted that registration for baseball and softball is beginning. Applications for those sports can be picked up at City Hall.

•Police Chief Richard Mizzi reported that there had been 40 complaints, three citations, and three arrests made during the previous month.

Mizzi also recommended hiring Ryan Savoie as a part-time police officer. The chief said one of his officers will be taking sick leave, reducing the force to three. A part-time officer works 24 hours over a two-week period. Savoie would be paid the usual rate, $7.86 per hour, more during the Ettouffe Festival. Mizzi also stated that the money was already in his budget.

Alderman LaGrange asked about an accident involving Savoie and a Port Barre Police Department vehicle during his employment with that department. Chief Mizzi replied that he had spoken with the newly-elected chief of police in Port Barre and learned that Savoie had been cleared of all charges and that he would be probably be re-hired at a later date. Alderman Broussard made a motion to hire Savoie, which was passed unanimously.

•A public hearing was scheduled for 5:30 p.m. on March 18 to address increasing the pay scale for some city workers. Chief Mizzi said he supports a pay increase to $8.48 per hour for his officers. Since he would be out of town for a required continuing education seminar, he would file a written recommendation.

•“Doc” Broussard made a formal announcement to thank Tina Guidry, a loyal city employee for the last nine years. He praised her service and commitment to her work. Mayor Richard announced that the town is not advertising for her replacement at this time. She said that the two remaining employees are handling the extra duties.

•Alderman LaGrange announced that the newspaper drive mentioned at the previous meeting will be held on Saturday, March 29. The event has been approved by the St. Landry Parish School Board. The drive will accept only newspapers and magazines and the resulting proceeds will benefit Arnaudville Elementary and Beau Chene High School. Both schools will serve as drop-off points and will be open from 9 a.m. to noon on that date. Councilman LaGrange said that he hopes this will be the first step in a larger recycling program.

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