Three tax renewals for courthouse, drainage and parish equipment will be on a Nov. 3 special-election ballot.
Franklin Parish Police Jury members unanimously passed a resolution calling for the election at their regular meeting, May 14.
Voters will decide on a five-year 4.07 mill tax renewal for the operation and maintenance of Franklin Parish Courthouse. If passed, the millage will bring in an estimated $436,000.
The second proposition is a five-year 11.17 mill tax renewal for construction, maintenance and operation and purchase of equipment for the Franklin Parish drainage system. If passed, the millage will bring in an estimated $1.2 million.
The third proposition is a five-year 8.12 mill tax renewal for the purpose of maintaining, operating and purchasing parish equipment. If voters agree to this millage, an estimated $869,857 will be brought in.
Estimated tax-payer cost of similar special elections is $12,500, according to the Louisiana Secretary of State’s office.
In other business, Police Jury members tabled a measure that could potentially close a public road and boat ramp for four months each year.
In the proposal authored by Brogal, Limited Partnership, Bakers Cutoff Boat Ramp and Bakers Cutoff Road will be closed from Oct. 1 through Jan. 31. The road will be shut off from public use by gates positioned at its entrance off La. Hwy 4.
According to the proposal to the Police Jury, “There has always been a trash problem in the boat ramp area as well as people camping overnight in the area. Adjoining landowners as well as Brogal, LP have had continuous problems with hunters trespassing on their private property. The trespassers access the property by boats launched at the Bakers Cutoff Boat Ramp. They pose as fishermen and do fish but have a gun in case they see a deer on the banks of the lake. This has been an ongoing
problem for years.”
If Police Jury members agree to the proposal, the road and ramp will be open the remainder of the time and the $1,000 annual lease amount will be waived.
Police Jury members questioned the proposal’s legality.
“He can’t close that road,” said Juror Gary Peters. “We need to ask him to clarify what he means. If he is talking about putting a gate up near the highway and closing that road, he can’t do that.”
Bakers Cutoff Road and boat ramp is located in Peters’ district.
The Police Jury originally leased the tract of land where the boat ramp is located on May 20, 2010 and renewed the lease on March 31, 2015 for an annual payment of $1,000, according to the proposal.
“During the period of the original lease FPPJ paid the annual lease amount only at the request of the landowner,” according to the proposal. “During the renewed lease period, FPPJ hasn’t made any payments to Brogal.”
The lease ended March 31, 2019.
Louisiana law prohibits the closing, obstruction or changing legal roads. Public roads are defined as all roads or streets that are opened, laid out, or appointed by “virtue of any act of the legislature or by virtue of an order by any parish governing authority in any parish, or any municipal governing authority in any municipality.”
Louisiana law further states: “All roads or streets made on the front of their respective tracts of lands or individuals when the lands have their front on any of the rivers or bayous within this state shall be public roads when located outside of municipalities and shall be public streets when located inside municipalities.”
Any road or street used by the public designated and maintained by the local governing authority is a public road, according to Louisiana law.
However, no road or street on private property will be designated as a public road unless ownership is transferred or the right of way is given to the local governing authority, according to Louisiana law.
Police Jury members will address the issue at their next regular meeting after receiving more information.
Meanwhile, Police Jury members approved a change order to the Abe Lincoln / Horace White Sewer District rehabilitation project. The change
order added $17,452.92 and 55 days to the project.
With the approved change order, Womack and Sons Construction Group, Inc. of Harrisonburg, will replace a lift station’s rotten service pole, replace additional diffuser piping, replace a lift station control panel and additional bypass pumping for the system.
In other matters, the Police Jury office will now be opened from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. week days with a rotating staff. Parish barn workers will continue working with a full staff on various parish projects.
The move came after Gov. John Bel Edwards entered Louisiana into President Trump’s Phase I of re-opening