Jurors discuss airport plans
By PAUL KEDINGER
Members of the Acadia Parish Police Jury’s Airport Committee handled several issues Tuesday night with the goal of improving LeGros Memorial Airport.
Jurors readily approved a priority “wish list” of projects to submit to the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD), but expressed concern on hiring a consultant to aid in developing the airport and obtaining federal and state funds.
The priority list submitted to DOTD is a five-year plan with an estimated cost of $3,475,000, including underground drainage, an aviation fuel system, and runway improvements, among other items.
Drew Miller, who oversees the Eunice Airport and serves as a consultant for the St. Landry Parish Airport in Opelousas, said, “I want to help you get as much as you can” in funding, though he admitted funding wouldn’t be immediately or guaranteed.
Miller offered to aid the Jury committee for $2,000 per month consulting fee, plus use of a cell phone and mileage reimbursement.
When Juror John Quebodeaux asked Miller if he initially would agree to an hourly fee, he responded, “That would be difficult to do,” offering as an example how to figure charges for brief telephone calls.
Juror Alton Stevenson was also concerned about the monthly fee.
However, the committee finally decided to recommend the Jury hire Miller.
Jurors also heard from Kenny Privat, who inquired about the particulars of a lease if he built a hangar at the parish airport. Privat agreed to work with Jury Attorney Doug Wimberly on the lease agreement.
In other action, the Building and Grounds Committee recommended Lee Hebert, parish Homeland Security director, solicit bids for a generator able to serve the entire courthouse in the case of an emergency power outage.
Jurors on the Industrial Committee, favored granting CLECO an additional 25-foot right-of-way in the Crowley-Rayne Industrial Park to install a second power line across the easement. CLECO already has a 100-foot right-of-way. Attorney Wimberly commented,” Legally, there’s no reason to deny it,” noting CELCO would have to meet all previous right-of-way provisions.
Members of the Road and Bridge Committee agreed to do a cost estimate to construct a roadway into a planned subdivision off of Highway 90 west of Crowley. Mrs. Dazetta Thorn explained the road would be funded by a self-assessment tied to the projected 46 lots to be sold in the subdivision which has secured preliminary plat approved from the Acadia Parish Planning Commission.
The members also supported a request from Juror A.J. “Fatty” Broussard to submit a resolution to DOTD requesting a turning lane in the vicinity of Atwood Akers.
Jurors will recommended the full Jury solicit bids for a mechanic’s truck to provide repair services to the road and landfill crews. Road Manager Michael “Pee Wee” Schexnider estimated a fully equipped truck could cost between $85,00 and $105,000. Secretary-Treasurer Terry Lacombe indicated monthly repair bills average $10,000. The truck would not be purchased until a mechanic is hired.
Barbara Latiola, the School Board’s sales tax collector, reported the board members drafted a proposal to exempt crawfish bait from local sales taxes, in a move connected to the State of Louisiana granting a tax exemption in July.
Crowley Mayor Greg Jones appeared before jurors to request the Jury contribute 50 percent or $36,313.63 toward the engineering fees to install lights on Exit 82 on Interstate 10.
Jones also asked jurors to place a bridge on South Avenue H between Wal-nut and Keller Street on the parish’s priority list submitted to the Louisiana DOTD.