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Things may be brightening up for residents of Crowville.

A street light proposal was brought before the Franklin Parish Police Jury, Jan 14.

The proposal called for 40 street lights installed on existing facilities, according to Nick Poulos, proposition author. The lights would be situated on La. Hwy 17.

“Crowville does not have any sidewalks and people walk, jog and bike along the shoulders of the highways,” Poulos said. “From the most current traffic count, Hwy 17 has 5,500 vehicles that pass through Crowville every 24 hours.”

The lights would be standard 100-watt, high-pressure, sodium, open-bottom fixtures on six-foot arms.

“Street lighting provides a number of important benefits,” Poulos said. “It can be used to promote security and to increase the quality of life by artificially extending the hours in which it is light so that activity can take place.”

According to an e-mail from Entergy, the monthly bill for the lights would be $280 with no upfront costs.

For the 2020 tax year, residents and businesses located in Ward Four (Crowville) are expected to pay a total of $815,739 to the Police Jury, according to Rod Elrod, tax assessor. This figure includes some $60,424 paid to the Police Jury’s general fund, along with $755,315 paid to the Police Jury’s various dedicated funds.

From Jan. 1, 2019 to Dec. 31, 2020, total sales tax collected in Crowville was $41,462.67 (1 percent) and $20,731.34 (1/2 percent), according to Joe Walters, Franklin Parish sales and use tax.

Located in Ward Four, Crowville has 16 businesses, three churches, a school, bank, volunteer fire department and a Franklin Parish Sheriff’s Office substation. Its population in 2019 was 963.

“We are unincorporated, and the only way we can get street lights is by asking the Police Jury,” Poulos said. “The Police Jury is the official government over our area.”

Police Jury members seemed affirmative to the proposal but agreed to approach the idea carefully.

“If we do it for Crowville, they are going to want it in Fort, Jigger, Liddieville,” said Police Juror David Deblieux.

Police Jury decided to seek funding for street lights and look over Attorney General opinions about the matter.

In a 2011 Attorney General’s opinion to Terrebonne Parish Council, “First, we note  that drainage ditches that are maintained by the parish are for the common use of all its citizens and property owners and thus are public things. Therefore, road lighting district funds can be used to place street lights along such ditches.

Thus, it is the opinion of this office that road lighting district funds can be used to place street lights along drainage ditches maintained by the parish.”

In a second 2012 Attorney General’s opinion to Terrebonne Parish Council, “…may not use public funds to install or maintain street lights along private streets or roads or in subdivisions of any sort where streets or roads have not been properly dedicated and accepted for public use.”

Police Jury member Gary Peters said there were “options” to research.

“There are two or three different options we can look into,” Peters said. “I will be talking to the water board guy and the fire department chief for possible funding.”

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