The Ouachita Parish Police Jury learned earlier this week that some additional state funding could be made available to pay for some $300,000 in emergency repairs to the Cheniere Lake spillway.
The Police Jury discussed the matter during its regular meeting Monday. At that time, Kevin Crosby, who is the parish’s consulting engineer, alerted police jurors to the possibility of funding being made through capital outlay.
Though the state Legislature concluded its regular legislative session, Gov. John Bel Edwards’ administration could make more money available for emergency projects, according to Crosby.
Crosby said state Rep. Pat Moore – who most recently served on the Police Jury – reached out to him and encouraged him to submit a capital outlay application for certain projects.
Parish officials have said cost of rebuilding the parish-owned spillway and the state-owned bridge at Cheniere Lake could cost up to $9 million. That amount of money was not feasible at this time, Crosby said.
“We just need to get the gates put back in,” Crosby said. “If we asked for $9 million, that might not happen. But if we can ask for $300,000 and there’s a little extra money available, that would at least allow us to get the gates back in.”
On another front, Police Juror Walt Caldwell asked Assistant District Attorney Jay Mitchell – who serves as the Police Jury’s legal counsel – whether it was possible the town of Sterlington could be included in the East Ouachita Economic Development District. The inclusion of Sterlington in the parish economic development district would allow parish sales tax revenues to be spent on roads in Sterlington.
Caldwell brought up the matter during a discussion of how to repair Old Sterlington Road.
“There’s a significant portion of it that has fallen apart,” Caldwell said. “I was hoping there was some out-of-the-box solution.”
Crosby estimated the cost of repairing Old Sterlington Road was some $500,000. That would be the case because the roadway has experienced base failures in some areas.
“The longer it goes un-repaired, the more expensive it will become,” Crosby said.
Police Jury Vice President Jack Clampit warned that adding Sterlington to the parish East Ouachita Economic Development District might be onerous to taxpayers in the district, especially if the town of Sterlington approves its own economic development district with another sales tax hike.