Engineer tells jurors LeGros Airport’s drainage system in dire need of repairs

By: Paul Kedinger

Managing Editor

Members of the Acadia Parish Police Jury’s Airport Committee received a bleak picture of the drainage system at Le Gros Memorial Airport during their meeting Tuesday, April 5.

Gerald Babin of Professional Engineering Consultants (PEC) of Baton Rouge, told jurors “the system is falling apart.” Deteriorating drainage pipes are enroaching onto the runways at the 600 acre airport.

Babin suggested the drainage system should “be rebuilt from the pavement out,” and offered a two phase plan. He estimated the total costs of the drainage improvement project at $3 million, to be equally divided between the two phases.

The engineer said he would expect to open bids in June and begin upgrading the drainage system in July.

The Police Jury currently has $480,000 in the Airport’s account, with funds from the Federal Aviation Agency (FAA) which provides $150,000 annually to U.S. airports. The federal monies are funneled through the aviation division of the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development.

Babin noted the project has received clearance from the Environmental Protection Agency.

The engineer also indicated there may be the possibility of secure a 50/50 matching grant from the DOTD to purchase a fueling station at the airport. The fueling station would generate operating revenues for the airport, which currently is receiving only hangar rental payments.

Committee members recommended the full Jury authorize its president to sign a contract with PEC for the drainage improvement project.

During the Road and Bridge Committee’s session, jurors discussed calling an election to renew a sales tax for road improvements in the rural areas of the parish. The one cent sales tax will expire this year.

Jurors discussed calling a special election in order to continue funding rural road improvements, but learned Wednesday morning that a special election cannot be called. The next parish-wide election will occur on October 22.

They also talked about dedicating some of the road taxes to maintenance of older blacktop roads, such as Standard Mill. In the past, all of the funds generated by the tax have been earmarked for blacktopping gravel roads.

Jurors delayed action on the purchase/lease of a new excavator until their next meeting because they didn’t have all of the submitted bids.

They did, however, authorize Road Manager Michael “Pee Wee” Schexnider to solicit lease proposals for a backhoe.

In other action, engineer Brett Bayard with Mader Engineering told jurors “a significant irregularity” in a low bid for the installation of a clay liner at the parish landfill had to be resolved before he and his firm could recommended awarding a contract. Five bids, ranging in cost from $1,474,618.15 to $2,759,381, were received. The engineering firm’s cost estimate was put at $1,801,934.10.

The Personnel Committee recommended changes to the personnel manual stipulating that overtime would be earned only after actually working over 40 hours in a workweek. The change denies using holiday, vacations days, sick leave and emergency leave as “time worked.”

The manual was also updated to require all full-time and part-time employees to carry and display photo identification cards at all times when working.

Members of the Finance Committee recommended authorizing Jury Secretary-Treasuer Terry Lacombe to advertise for materials and services for the next fiscal year.

Acadia Parish Today

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