Ouachita Parish Police Jury, March 20 meeting

The Ouachita Parish Police Jury agreed to incur $15 million in bonded indebtedness earlier this week to pay for a spate of roadway and drainage projects in eastern Ouachita Parish.

The Police Jury voted unanimously during its regular meeting Monday evening to incur the debt through sales tax revenue bonds. The bonded indebtedness would be secured by revenues generated by a 1.39-percent sales tax. Voters in eastern Ouachita approved the sales tax hike last year.

Police Juror Shane Smiley, who chairs the Police Jury’s finance committee, said the Police Jury expected to complete its project list later this month.

The revenues from the sales tax may be used to pay for road work or drainage work. Swartz Fairbanks Road and Lonewa Road are expected to receive priority among other road projects. Certain drainage projects like the River Styx pump station project or the Raccoon Bayou project have dominated past discussions of areas needing immediate work.

According to Smiley, the Police Jury would likely tackle the road and drainage projects in two phases: by incurring the $15 million in two phases, through bond issues of $8 million and $7 million, or $9 million and $6 million.

Police Jury consulting engineer Kevin Crosby explained that the cost of road work had dropped in recent months as contractors across the state are more eager to find work. Police jurors were debating how much money they needed through bond issues because it was uncertain whether road costs would continue to drop or rise by the time the Police Jury undertook the second phase of projects.

Meanwhile, the Police Jury recognized employees for their years of service.

Rachelle Tarvin was recognized for her five years of service at the parish 911 Office, and Jacqueline Arnold was recognized for her five years of service in the parish’s federal programs department.

Ten parish firefighters were honored for their 10 years of service with the Ouachita Parish Fire Department: Jay Barfield, Mark Bennett, Dinnon Butler, David Harris, Donnie Holloway, Mervyn Matlock, Steven McMullen, Roderick Simmons, Todd Thompson and Michael Young.

“We appreciate their service,” said Police Jury President Scotty Robinson.

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