Jurors discuss drainage regulations
CROWLEY – A Fourth Ward resident told jurors Tuesday night that she felt threatened by the tone of a letter she received from the district drainage board insisting that she would be responsible for repairing a fence within the 100-foot maintenance right-of-way.
The question of right-of-ways was initially raised by Juror John Quebodeaux who asked about the laws governing the distance from a drainage canal and repairs to fencing.
Jury President A.J. Credeur, who once served on a drainage board, offered to share information with the jurors and indicated the same information should be shared with newly-appointed drainage board members.
At one point, as Rachel Bertrand described the unsigned letter from the drainage board, Juror Felton Moreau agreed that drainage board directors “should be community-minded,” but that some act as “if they own the drainage board.”
Juror Quebodeaux agreed “diplomacy will get you further.”
Jury Attorney Doug Wimblery told the landowner and jurors there are two state statutes governing drainage board’s right-of-ways. One mandates a 100-foot right-of-way, while the second classifies any obstruction to the right-of-way as a misdemeanor and the owner’s responsibilities. Wimberly emphasized, “You can’t obstruct access to the ditch.”
In other action, Juror Thomas Sonnier moved to cancel a contract with grants writer Karla Cormier, citing the fees are nearing $20,000 and “we haven’t seen any results.”
Cormier answered the process of submitting applications normally involves a long waiting period.
Sonnier’s motion was seconded by Juror Cade Benoit, but Juror Quebodeaux made a substitute motion to refer the issue to the next committee meeting, because the contract was not listed on the official agenda. Jurors agreed to Quebodeaux’s motion.
Jurors adopted a resolution supporting an appeal by Rayne city officials of a preliminary flood insurance rate map as presented by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
Rayne officials contend no technical studies were conducted to create the new map and “believe that they (FEMA) did not take into consideration significant changes that have occurred in our area over the past thirty or more years.”
Jurors adopted seven parish tax millages for 2009, totaling 19.54 mills.
Community liaison staffers from Cong. Charles Boustany’s office introduced themselves and offered their assistance.
Auditor Frank Bergeron presented the recently completed audit and reviewed several segments with jurors. He reported the Jury showed “a profit of $1.7 million,” which was “a $5.2 million swing” from the previous year. He also noted auditors identified only one finding when there were 11 findings that needed to be addressed in the previous review. Bergeron complimented Jury Secretary-Treasurer Terry Lacombe.
Jurors approved two millage renewal elections on October 17, 2009, for the Bayou Mallet and Iota Long Point Gravity Drainage Districts. The Bayou Mallet board is seeking a 10-year, 5.04 mill renewal, and the Iota Long Point board will seek a 10-year, 5 mill renewal.
Arlen Pousson was reappointed to the Iota Fire Protection District board.
State Representative Jack Montoucet detailed the highlights of the recently completed regular session of the Louisiana Legislature. He also confirmed that the pontoon bridge near Mermentau would not be moved.
Jurors agreed to rent a motorgrader for use at the Iota barn until a new unit can be purchased and delivered under state contract.
In other business, jurors:
• Accepted the bid proposal of Exterior Cleaning Services, Inc. of Church Point to wash the exterior of the courthouse and old jail for $11,700; a second bidder had given a proposal in excess of $100,000;
• Revised the health and sanitation ordinance to provide that individuals inheriting property are excluded from provisions regarding the placement of individual sewer treatment plants;
• Accepted the bid by Ellis Stuart to purchase the Mosquito Control’s airplane for $50,500, with Juror A.J. “Fatty” Broussard casting the sole negative vote, saying, “We will need it soon;”
• Directed the secretary-treasurer to work with John Martin to file the necessary papers with the Federal Aviation Agency (FAA) to host a remote controlled model aircraft competition at LeGros Memorial Airport;
• Instructed the jury president, secretary-treasurer and jury attorney to work with Keith Henry to develop a hay lease on airport property; and
• Authorized the secretary-treasurer to purchase two medium-sized hydraulic excavators and trailers, and permit advertising to purchase equipment used for chip sealing and resealing.