The Ouachita Parish Police Jury is considering implementing an ordinance that would make it illegal for anyone to remove sinker logs from Cheniere Lake.

The Police Jury discussed the matter during its regular meeting last week.

Police Jury Vice President Jack Clampit said the removal of sinker logs — logs that have fallen to the bottom of the lake where cool water and darkness preserve the timber — had become a problem lately at the lake.

“Everybody thinks those sinker logs belong to them,” Clampit said.

Assistant District Attorney Jay Mitchell, who serves as the Police Jury’s legal counsel, said it was arguable that two state laws already made it illegal to remove the timber from public property. At that time, Mitchell and Police Juror Walt Caldwell — who is an attorney —discussed the nuances of the penalties in state criminal and civil codes.

Referring to the state laws, Mitchell said, “This was actually back in the day during the 1900s when logs were being floated down the river.”

Ultimately, Mitchell recommended the Police Jury adopt a parish ordinance making it clear that it was illegal to cut timber or to remove timber and sell it.

On another front, the Police Jury agreed to pay $12,000 to the Northeast Louisiana Economic Partnership to certify the Calhoun Technology Park – or the former Calhoun AgCenter Research Station — as a certified economic development site.

Police Jury President Shane Smiley asked how often the parish would have to pay $12,000.

“Surely, we’re not paying for one calendar year, are we?” Smiley said.

Clampit defended the expenditure by arguing that an economic development site certification would place the Calhoun Technology Park on Louisiana Economic Development (LED)’s web site where manufacturers and other major businesses look as a resource for locating their businesses.

“If you’re not on the certified list, then you’re not on LED’s site list, and that’s where manufacturers and businesses go first,” Clampit said.

Parish treasurer Brad Cammack was asked to explain what services would be provided in exchange for the $12,000 payment. The services provided appeared to be related to research and other duties normally conducted by parish staff.

After Cammack read the list of services, Smiley said, “That sounds like a lot of baloney to me.”

“It could be, but it will result in us being certified,” Cammack said.

Smiley acknowledged Cammack’s point.

Clampit said he had wanted an asking price listed for the Calhoun property when he first came on the Police Jury, but the Police Jury still did not have a price listed for the property.

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