Jurors hire new legal counsel
By Paul Kedinger
LSN STAFF WRITER
In a narrow 4-3 vote, members of the Acadia Parish Police Jury hired a new attorney to serve as their legal counsel during Tuesday night’s meeting.
The employment of Nicholas A. Bellard of Church Point came on a substitute motion made by Juror Alton Stevenson and seconded by Juror Thomas “T.J.” Sonnier.
That motion nullified a motion to rehire Doug Wimblery, also of Church Point, who has served as the Jury legal counsel for five years.
Voting for Bellard were Jurors Cade Benoit, Felton “Tony” Moreau, Sonnier and Stevenson. Casting opposing votes were Jurors A.J. “Fatty” Broussard, John Quebodeaux and Kermit Richard.
Bellard’s appointment must be approved by the District Attorney and the Louisiana Attorney General.
Bellard’s appointment was not without some contentious remarks from Broussard, who said the selection of Bellard was politically motivated.
Broussard also accused Bellard of serving as counsel in a lawsuit against the Jury.
Bellard, however, was quick to answer, “I’m no longer associated with that lawsuit.”
Bellard said he removed himself as the attorney after another lawsuit turned over ownership of right-of-way property involving Huntington Street in Midland to another person, making an effort by a Midland family to force removal of property from the right-of-way “moot.”
In other action, jurors rehired Broussard, Poche, Lewis and Breaux as the Jury’s auditors for 2009, 2010 and 2011.
Jurors authorized President A.J. Credeur to sign a memorandum of understanding to provide $50,000 to fund a parish economic development body as recommended by the Acadia Parish Economic Inducement Committee.
The new agency would be funded by two-tenths of the annual budgets of the parish’s municipalties. Rayne, Crowley and Church Point officials have already made a commitment.
Jurors also approved the issuing of $900,000 in ten-year bonds by Fire Protection District No. 9, which encompasses Rayne and surrounding area, to purchase new equipment.
The First Ward Drainage District was also authorized to call a 10-year, eight-mill tax renewal on May 1.
Jurors reappointed members to the Bayou Mallet Drainage District, Fire Protection District No. 3 and the Acadia Rice Arena Committee and appointed Nicholas Wayne Penn to replace the resigning Johnnie Schexnayder on Fire Protection District No. 8 and named Darlene Guidry to replace the resigning Mary Bordelon as Church Point’s representative on the parish tourist commission.
Jurors approved a resolution asking the state to reconsider the closing of the Department of Public Safety Motor Vehicle Office in Eunice.
In other action during a meeting that lasted less than a half hour, jurors readily accepted committee recommendations:
• Authorized the secretary-treasurer to obtain proposals to construct a sidewalk on the south lawn of the courthouse;
• Hire an electrical engineer to submit plans to install a new generator to power the entire courthouse in case of a power outage. with the old generator to be connected to the former parish jail which is being renovated as Jury offices;
• Authorized the secretary-treasurer to contact surrounding parishes regarding land use and zoning ordinances;
• Approving implementing a state law which permits the parish to have inmates reimburse their medical and dental costs:
• Formally named Michael “PeeWee” Schexnider as parish road manager;
• Accepted the donation of property beneath Oaktree Lane in the Oakwood Subdivision outside Rayne;
• Directed the road manger to obtain three quotes for repairs to bridges on Muskrat and Ellis Roads:
• Approved the advertising for bids for a trash compactor at the parish landfill;
• Extended the contract with Mosquito Control Contractors, Inc. for a second year; and
• Accepted a change order for a sewer extension to Coon Richard Road near Morse and terminate the contract with contractor.