Landfill issues argued by police jury
Two members of the Acadia Parish Police Jury have offered to donate their time and skills to rebuilding a road at the parish sanitary landfill, a move they say will save the parish money on engineering and contract fees.
The majority of the jury, however, feels that it would be safer in the long run to “go through channels” and have the project engineered and contracted out.
“It’s a matter of our liability if the road fails in the future,” said Juror Julie Borill.
A.J. “Jay” Credeur and Dale Trahan each said they would volunteer to reconstruct the road that was partially washed out when part of a slope sloughed off recently.
“We have all the equipment to fix the road ourselves if we want to fix it,” said Trahan.
“I know about compacting dirt and Mr. Trahan knows about compacting dirt. I’m volunteering my services,” Credeur added.
Jury President David Savoy questioned the legality of the two actually handling parish equipment, but both Credeur and Trahan claimed to have state documents which say they can do so.
Brett Bayard, engineer with Mader Engineering, the firm that handles the engineering services at the landfill, had explained to the jury’s Solid Waste Committee last Tuesday that certain aspects of the road construction should be engineered since the construction will also serve as a levee.
However, Credeur and Trahan were adamant that they possess the knowledge necessary to handle the job and, using the parish equipment already at the landfill, could accomplish the task.
“This is good for the parish. It’s not good for an engineer because an engineer can’t make any money on it,” Credeur said.
As for the future liability, Credeur asked why the jury was not holding Mader Engineering liable for the failure of the current road.
“That road’s 30 years old,” explained Borill. “Check any road that’s 30 years old and hasn’t been maintained.”
In the end, jurors voted — with no vocal opposition — to obtain price estimates for the work.
In other related action, the jury voted 5-2 to terminate a contract with E.B. Feutch for the removal of silt from a holding pond at the landfill.
According to Bayard, the $80,000 contract was awarded prior to last winter and was never acted upon by the contractor because of conditions at the site.
“He said it was too wet to get his equipment in there,” Bayard said, adding that, at one point, the jury approved extending the contract and took action to move pumps into the area in an attempt to dry the area.
Since a dirt slope sloughed off in that particular area, Bayard said the silt build-up is now beneficial and recommended leaving it in place.
However, Credeur asked why the jury was not moving forward with forcing the contractor to forfeit his security bond since the contract was never completed.
“We’re going to set a precedent here tonight if we do this,” Credeur said.
Brad Andrus, counsel for the jury, said he was not prepared to comment on the legalities of the bond forfeiture since he had never seen the contract.
Bayard contended that the parish had not spent any money on the contract and that jurors should consider “the risk-reward aspect” of seeking bond forfeiture.
“What is it going to cost the jury to litigate this?” he asked.
Again, Andrus said he would not comment on the contract until he had time to study it.
Credeur and Trahan voted against terminating the contract.
Borill, Al Stevenson, A.J. “Fatty” Broussard, Robert Guidry and Jimmie Pellerin voted in favor. David Savoy, as president, did not ask that his vote be recorded.
Andrus was instructed to review the contract and determine if the parish has standings to proceed with requesting forfeiture of the bond.
Jury OKs railroad crossing deal
With no objection voiced during a public hearing, members of the Acadia Parish Police Jury voted unanimously Tuesday to endorse a plan to close two railroad crossings and construct a third along U.S. Highway 90.
The state Department of Transportation and Development Safety Division and Union Pacific — the latter of which owns the tracks and the 30-foot right-of-way on which the tracks are laid — have proposed the plan and will fund the construction of an upgraded crossing at Nighthawk Road between Estherwood and Midland.
The two crossings to be closed are at either end of Old Spanish Trail Road, which parallels the tracks and U.S. Highway 90 between Estherwood and Midland.
“Nighthawk Road is right about in the middle between the two to be closed,” Parish Road Supervisor Michael “Pee Wee” Schexnider explained to jurors when the plan was first presented during committee meetings in May.
The crossing in Estherwood is just west of the U.S. Highway 90 junction with La. Highway 91 (to the pontoon bridge). The other crossing tabbed for closure is a little more than 1 mile (1.1 miles) to the west.
Nighthawk Road meets Old Spanish Trail 0.6 miles west of the Estherwood crossing; 1.2 miles east of South Crocker Street (La. Highway 91) in Midland.
Currently, Nighthawk Road ends at Old Spanish Trail on the south side of the railroad tracks.
Schexnider added that the new crossing will include crossing gates and improvements to the approach on either side of the tracks.
Also, Nighthawk Road, with the new crossing, will provide a direct route from U.S. 90 to LeGros Memorial Airport.
At their regular June meeting, jurors authorized President David Savoy to sign a resolution in support of the plan.
No time schedule has been given either for the closures or for work to begin on the improvements.
In other business Tuesday night, jurors balked at a request from the Acadia Parish Tourist Commission to approve a change in the APTC’s bylaws.
The commission asked that the terms of office for commissioners be increased from two to three years. However, Brad Andrus, legal counsel, warned that the group’s bylaws may have been established by the state Legislature, in which case, the jury cannot make — or approve — changes.
“It the commission was formed through legislative action, only the Legislature can change the bylaws,” he explained.
Andrus was instructed to review the issue and the commission’s request was tabled.
• Approved the appointment of Terry Romero to Fire Protection District No. 6 (Lyons Point).
• Approved the appointments of Troy Richard and Roland Andrus to the Bayou Plaquemine and Wikoff Drainage District.
• Set a 35 mph speed limit on the paved portion of Ye Old Country Road with a 25 mph speed limit on the gravel portion of the road.
• Set a 35 mph speed limit on Kite Road from Butterfly Road to Canvasback Road.
• Set a 25 mph speed limit on Lake Cove Road.
• Approved the preliminary and final plat for a subdivision to be developed by Hillman Meche along La. Highway 1100 between Ozark Road and Cottage Road.