Jurors hear support for airport district
By PAUL KEDINGER
For almost one hour Tuesday night, members of the Acadia Parish Police Jury heard only support voiced for Airport District No. 1 and its board during a public hearing.
A former board member, Louis Broussard, urged jurors not to abolish the airport district. “To do away with it would be wrong,” he emphasized, “It needs to be updated.
Approximately 20 years ago, the Jury created the district because the jurors at that time “didn’t want to have anything to do with the airport,” said Broussard. He cited improvements that have been made since the Commission was formed.
While several jurors stated they had no intentions of closing the airport, Juror Tony Moreau pointed out that the Jury has to vote on every grant dollar that is earmarked for the LeGros Memorial Airport. “The Jury needs to have a bit more say-so,” commented Moreau.
Scott Schumacher told jurors that how the commission board members first learned about the effort to dissolve the airport district was in a newspaper headline. “That had to hurt. You took the wind out of their sails,” he said, indicating that was most likely why no board members attended the public hearing.
Schumacher also asked who would be responsible for maintaining the airport if the district was dissolved. “Think twice before abolishing the district.”
Dr. John Burgin, a pilot, asked jurors to “evaluate before disbanding.”
Jurors A.J. “Fatty” Broussard explained his appointee to the board wanted to resign because of new state regulations requiring board members to revealed their financial assets. Jury Secretary-Treasurer Terrry Lacombe revealed that regulation didn’t apply to boards in Acadia Parish because of the parish’s size.
Lacombe also reported he had been denied access to the board’s financial reports, when he suggested an auditor should review the board funds.
At one point, Broussard turned to a reporter and asked the newspaper to announce a need for qualified candidates.
Juror Alton Stevenson suggested jurors meet with airport board members before acting on the fate of the district.
The hearing closed without voting on any recommendations.
The owner of C&J Commercial Cleaning Service requested and was granted a month’s extension on his contract to clean the courthouse. He promised he would work closely with Lacombe to resolve employee complaints about past services.
Jurors agreed to dedicate over $46,000 in Homeland Security grant monies to purchase a pickup truck and pay fuel and related expenses for the director instead of reimbursing mileage expenses. A portion of the funds will also be used to provide supplemental pay to the director and his assistant.