Jurors deny repair bill
By Paul Kedinger
LSN STAFF WRITER
CROWLEY – It took a roll call vote Tuesday night to deny a recommendation by Police Jury’s Solid Waste Committee to spend $839.22 to repair a 16-foot trailer allegedly damanged at the Acadia Parish Landfill.
Kollie Doucet appeared before the committee last week contending that the landfill’s equipment bent the trailer’s axles and crossbars.
When the recommendation came up for a vote Tuesday night, Juror Kermit Richard said the Jury should stand behind the statements of landfill workers that their equipment did not damage the trailer.
Juror A.J. “Fatty” Broussard indicated he wanted to settle the disputed claim and save taxes by paying the Rayne repair shop directly.
Juror John Quebodeaux interjected another issue by suggesting reports of damage should be made by residents before leaving the landfill.
Juror Cade Benoit, alluded to the Jury’s policy of not paying for vehicles damages on parish roads. He said, “We can’t pay for these things,” and remarked the Jury would have to open its own alignment shop to repair vehicles.
Finally, jurors consent-ed to a roll call vote, rejecting the payment by a 5-2 margin. Voting to deny the repair bill were Jurors Benoit, Felton “Tony” Moreau, Quebodeaux, Thomas Sonnier and Richard. Only Broussard and Stevenson favored repairing the trailer.
Jurors also rejected the committee’s recommen-dation regarding credits and liquidated damages regarding the contract with IESI, which collects the parish garbage.
Juror Richard’s substitute motion to have the parish engineering firm meet with IESI representatives to hammer out an agreement for a Jury vote. If IESI disputes the Jury’s position, negotiations would continue.
Jurors accepted the $68,000 bid of Vince’s Place, LLC, to grind up about a year’s accumulated wood waste at the landfill. Secretary-Treasurer Terry Lacomb reported the Jury spent about $100,000 to grind tree debris last year.
Jurors were divided on imposing land use fees on current hangar lease contracts.
Juror Quebodeaux suggested the Jury not imposed a land use fee on a 30-year lease holder, Dr. Ed Moody II of Rayne.
He noted a letter from the Federal Aviation Agency (FAA) representative “had no problem” exempting Moody from the land use fee.
Quebodeaux stated the Jury should honor commitments made in good faith by commissions they appoint.
Juror Cade Benoit, who chairs the Airport Advisory Committee, said the Jury wasn’t altering any leases by imposing a land use fee to support maintenance of the 600 acre parish airport.
After reviewing Moody’s lease, Doug Wimberly, the Jury’s legal counsel, said Moody might not have to pay land use fees on the 50’ x 35’ hangar, but “could be subject for land use fees” on the remainder of the 100’ x 100’ land parcel.
Jurors finally agreed to have Wimberly and Dr. Moody’s attorney confer and report back at the October meeting.
Assessor Russel Benoit obtained Jury denial of a tax protest by Cross Tech, a gas firm in Ward 7. The firm disputes what Benoit termed “a substantial assessment.” The assessor reported a Texas firm will conduct an independent appraisal to submit to the Louisiana Tax Commission.
Benoit reported the new assessed valuation in Acadia Parish of $297,025,397 was approximately $17 million higher than the previous year.
Jurors approved several applications to the Louisiana Government Assistance Program, including $60,000 for the Iota-Long-Pointe Drainage District, a $50,000 request by the Richie Fire Protection District No. 4, and a Jury request for $60,000 to install a new 70-ton chiller unit at the courthouse.
A tax election to continue a 10-year, 8.01 mill tax on Nov. 14, was approved for Fire Protection District No. 6.
Jurors approved an emanicpation request by the parish library board to control its own administrative and accounting functions. The State Legislature must grant final permission.
Jurors approved the purchase of blacktop chip seal equipment totaling $505,000 from Dougget Machinery Services in order to have parish road workers do such work intead of outside contractors.
Jurors also agreed to pay $182,000 for 26 acres of wetlands in Evangeline Parish to replace wetlands affected by the Fabacher Road Drainage and Bridge Replacement Project.
Jurors approved Mader Engineering and Aucoin and Associates to do engineering and administrative work on Community Block Grant projects associated with Hurricane Gustav and Ike. The two firms had to attain certain scores on established criteria.
Jurors went into executive session to discuss pending litigation with the parish attorney, but took no action when they reconvened.
Jurors imposed 12-ton load limits on Gotts Cove, St. Jules, Riverside and Mamou Prairie Roads, and set a 35 mph speed limit on Gotts Cove Road.