Landfill offloading unsettled
By Paul Kedinger
LSN STAFF WRITER
CROWLEY – An effort by the Police Jury’s Solid Waste Committee Tuesday night to establish a policy regarding the unloading debris off private trailers resulted in much talk but no action.
Jurors were trying to avoid a situation cited by Hollis and Kollie Doucet, who contended their trailer was damaged when an excavator was used to empty the trailer.
Though the Doucets contended both axles were bent and crossbars were damaged, they were more upset by how their issue was handled by Jury Secretary-Treasurer Terry Lacombe.
Kollie Doucet contended they were “bullied” by Lacombe, while Hollis Doucet angrily spoke about his feelings he was “accused of lying.”
Kollie commented, “We’ve never had to prove our honesty and loyalty.”
Lacombe responded, “I didn’t lie about anything.” He also noted three landfill employees signed sworn statements that there was not “any significant damage to Mr. Doucet’s trailer.”
Committee members initially moved to pay $839.22 to repair the Doucet’s trailer and also no longer aid residents in unloading debris from trailers.
Several contractors, however, argued that it would cause more problems and unnecessary delays if the Jury forbade the use of landfill equipment to unload trash.
Several jurors, echoed John Quebodeaux’s remark, “This is a needed service.”
At one point, Juror A.J. Credeur suggested installing surveillance cameras at the landfill to reduce potential lawsuits and accidents.
Jurors eventually agreed to discuss the issue further and continue to provide offloading services.
Jurors also debated whether or not to “grandfather” previous hangar and land use leases at LaGros Memorial Airport and require current leasees to sign new land use agreements charging seven cents per square foot, in order to comply with FFA and DOTD recommendations.
Attorney Doug Wimberly stated the Jury had the power to institute new leases or “grandfather” prior leases.
No final action was taken on the suggestion by Juror Quebodeaux to exempt current lease holders from the new fees.
Jurors also agreed to advertise for an unoccupied hangar.
Jurors tabled action on acceptance of bids for a Courthouse security system, after Juror Alton Stevenson, concerned about the price tag, suggested other parish offices located in the Courthouse contribute toward the cost.
The low bid of $120,064 was submitted by Royal Security Solutions of New Iberia, consisting of 14 interior cameras, seven exterior cameras, related equipment and a metal detector.
The Insurance Committee recommended acceptance of proposals for employee health insurance, workers’ compensation insurance, vehicle and equipment liability insurance, and coverage for parish buildings, boilers and machinery.
The Legislative Committee recommended an emancipation request from the Acadia Parish Library Board granting authority to transfer the administration of and accounting functions of the parish library system to the board members. To be finalized, the request must now obtain approval from the Louisiana Legislature. Librarian Lyle Johnson cited several other parish library systems which have secured self-control.
The Road and Bridge Committee recommended the Jury purchase eight surplus radios from the City of Crowley to be installed in Road Division vehicles. The radios will cost the Jury a total of $2,000.
The committee also recommended several bids for Road Division equipment, as follows:
• Accepting a $202,000 bid from Doggett Machinery of Broussard for a self-propelled chipspreader, though it was higher than a second bid because it met all bid specifications;
• Accepting a $133,000 bid from Doggett Machinery for a bituminous distributor; and
• A $170,000 bid from Doggett Machinery for one used motorgrader.
Jurors agreed to spend $182,000 in mitigation costs to obtain a permit from the U.S. Corps of Engineers to proceed with the Facbacher Bridge Drainage Project.
Engineer Ryan Fuslier explained the Corps demanded the Jury purchase 26 acres of land in Evangeline Parish to offset the loss of wetlands as a result of the Iota drainage project.
Fusilier explained the permit was essential to start on the drainage project to be funded by a $1.2 million floodplain grant secured several years ago.
SLEMCO was granted a fee waiver to bore an underground electrical line on Lourdes Road to serve a private customer.
Road Manager Michael “PeeWee” Schexnider updated jurors on bridge construction projects and excavation work schedules in the parish.
Secretary-Treasurer Lacombe informed jurors that the legislative auditor recommended the Jury review its investment policy annually.
Juror A.J. “Fatty” Broussard raised the issue of consolidating drainage districts, creating one parish-wide drainage district.
Broussard said he believed that would improve drainage work throughout the parish. He felt drainage projects suffered when poorer funded districts cannot continue drainage work completed by better funded districts.
Juror Kermit Richard acknowledged such a move “would not be a popular thing, but I think it would be a good idea.”
Juror Thomas “TJ” Sonnier applauded the effort to improve efficiency and admitted some drainage boards “weren’t very responsive to our needs.”
Auditor Frank Bergeron cautioned that some districts are able to collect more funds through taxes than other districts and some residents might object to using their tax moneys into other districts.
Juror Felton “Tony” Moreau remarked, “I wouldn’t touch it.”
Moreau also noted jurors should look for community-minded candidates when they make new appointments to their respective district boards.
Jury President A.J. “Jay” Credeur, a former drainage board member, suggested neighboring district could sign intergovernmental contracts to relieve drainage problems in their areas.