Committee kills juror pay talk

Tie vote stops recommendation from going to the full police jury

Members of the Acadia Parish Police Jury won’t be considering pay raises for themselves when they meet on Tuesday — at least not as a recommendation from committee.

A Personnel Committee motion to recommend that the jury set a public hearing to discuss amending the ordinance setting the pay for jurors failed for lack of a clear majority.

Since the salary of police jurors is set by ordinance, law requires that a public hearing “which has been advertised in the official journal of the parish on at least two separate occasions within a period of 15 days” be held before the amendment can be adopted.

No public hearing means no amendment.

No amendment means no change in salary.

Jurors currently are paid $960 per month plus insurance benefits. The police jury president receives an extra $100-per-month stipend.

Donna Bertrand made the motion to recommend the public hearing. It was seconded by Dale Trahan. However, Julie Borill and A.J. “Fatty” Broussard voted against the recommendation, creating a 2-2 tie — no clear majority.

In other business during Wednesday night’s committee meetings, the Legislative Committee — as well as all other members of the police jury present — were given documentation from Brad Andrus, legal counsel, regarding his research in the authority of the parish to control where pipelines are laid.

“If you’ve ever seen a map of where pipelines are located in Acadia Parish, it looks like a spiderweb,” said Broussard, who has been spearheading efforts to legislate the pipeline companies.

Pointing out that, once a pipeline company get a right-of-way for a pipeline, “you can’t build anything on top of it.”

He said he’s heard of an industry that wants to locate in Acadia Parish but is having trouble finding a “clear area of land big enough” on which to locate.

Broussard wants the parish to adopt an ordinance mandating that pipelines not deviate from current rights of way unless absolutely necessary.

“If you have a current corridor, stay within that corridor,” he said. “Companies are deviating from those corridors because they’re having problems with a landowner along the corridor.”

State and federal law grants pipeline companies the authority to expropriate private property “for a public and necessary purpose and with just compensation paid to the owner.”

Andrus said the big problem is simply that landowners aren’t aware of exactly what rights they have under the law.

Though he did not say what information was included in the packets he handed out to jurors Wednesday night, Andrus recommended that the jurors “take them home and study them.”

It was noted that, according to the most recent assessments, there are 82 miles of pipeline in Acadia Parish. Tax assessments on the pipelines and the accompanying facilities bring in about $3.8 million to the various taxing entities.

Further discussion of Broussard’s proposed ordinance is expected at the Tuesday, March 11, meeting of the full jury.

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