Jury calls for road tax renewal
By: Paul Kedinger
CROWLEY - The Acadia Parish Police Jury approved calling elections to renew a one percent sales and use tax for parish roads and bridges and a second to authorize an additional homestead exemption for certain disabled veterans during its meeting Wednesday night.
Both questions will appear on the Oct. 22 ballot.
The tax renewal vote will affect only the unincorporated areas of the parish. It is expected to generate $2 million annually over a 15-year period.
The current rural road tax expires at the end of this year, effectively halting major blacktopping and road maintenance projects.
Louisiana voters approved a constitutional amendment last fall to allow the higher homestead exemption for disabled veterans.
Jurors “piggy-backed” a request to the Department of Transportation and Development to assume ownership and maintenance of the parish portion of Zaunbrecher Road which is connected to the City of Rayne’s section of American Legion Drive.
Under a DOTD program, the state will improve both roads segments if the parish and city each agree to assume full ownership and maintenance in the future.
Jurors also approved resolutions granting exceptions to the current DOTD design standards for construction of off-system bridges on Perchville, Fournerat, Faulk and Sonnier Roads.
President A.J. “Jay” Credeur reported the Jury has requested funding from Louisiana Economic Development to hard-surface 1.4 miles of St. Raphael Road from LA Hwy 748 which connects to the Canal Refinery, which is in the process of major renovations. The blacktopping is estimated to cost $441,645.
Jurors also adopted a resolution of its plan to pave the LeTred Subdivision off Hwy. 265 in Branch. The roadwork would be repaid with a self-assessment by subdivision owners over a period of 10 years.
Jurors also imposed speed limits on several roads, including Perchville and Sonnier Road (30 mph), Beard Drive and a portion of Muskrat (25 mph), and Swift (35 mph).
Rayne Mayor Jim Petitjean appeared to thank the Jury and its employees for their efforts clearing debris caused by the March 5 tornado in Rayne.
“In a time of crisis, it means an awful lot,” said Petitjean, noting President Credeur quickly declared an emergency and parish workers willingly worked through the weekend.
Petitjean told jurors the city is in the process of filing a “reconsideration” to FEMA seeking a presidential disaster declaration based solely on aiding private residents. The first declaration seeking funds for both public and private expenses was rejected because it failed to meet a $5 million threshold.
Jurors voted to send a resolution supporting Rayne’s reconsideration plea to President Obama and congressional leaders.
In connection with the clean-up due to the storm, jurors approved an emergency work report of $25,183.09.
In other action, jurors accepted the low bid from Patriot Construction of Lafayette for the installation of a clay liner at the parish landfill, though the bid did have a technical error.
Parish Attorney Nicholas Bellard told jurors the technical error did not forbid them from accepting the low bid of $2,474,618.15, though the second low bidder could file a complaint within a 15-day period. Jurors saved approximately $250,000 by accepting Patriot’s bid.
Jurors approved the appointment of Dollie Eaglin-Monroe of Crowley as the next member-at-large on the Acadia Parish Tourist Commission for a two-year term.
Jury members also accepted the proposal from architect Ron Lawson to continue as the parish’s third party provider for building plan reviews and inspections under the building code. Lawson will serve for three years.