The Winnsboro streets overlay project is slowly progressing, said Superintendent Phillip Hutto in Monday’s monthly Town Council meeting.

Funding for the work comes from a 10-year sales tax for road work. The tax was originally passed in 2007 and was renewed in 2017.

“This is an obligation we have to fulfill during the time of Jack Hammons’ (administration),” said Mayor John Dumas. “His council had determined the whole city of Winnsboro would be overlaid. Now it is a job that you guys are fulfilling on behalf of Jack Hammons and the council.”

Streets that have been overlaid or scheduled to be overlaid are Gwin, Harvey, North, Lane, Second, Third to Pine to Fifth, Third from La Hwy. 15 to Pine, Ursula, Milam and Elizabeth streets.

Baldwin Drive from Eighth Street to Mays Street and Robinson and Martin drives are also scheduled to be overlaid.

As streets get overlaid with asphalt, Winnsboro utility department continues to battle with aging infrastructure.

“We have infrastructure problems that are constantly popping up and coming up on us everyday,” Dumas said. “That’s what caused these obligations that weren’t fulfilled in the time frame they were supposed to be.”

Water lines leaking and having to be moved and manhole covers that need to be moved were just some of the obstacles that Winnsboro employees continue to face, Hutto said.

Dumas said Winnsboro utility workers and contractors will continue to work on streets and infrastructure until the project is finished.

“We owe it to the individuals that live on those streets, and by God we are going to get it done,” Dumas said. “We are going to make sure Jack Hammons’ legacy gets done.”

Additionally, two culverts were installed on Riser Road for the W.O. Gwin Recreational Park, Hutto said.

W.O. Gwin Recreational Park is a 20-acre park located on Riser Road that will possibly feature a football/soccer field, a pool, splash pad, misted sitting areas and picnic grounds.

Park funding will come from grants and in-kind work, Dumas said.


Johnson wanted Town Council statements

Meanwhile, Town Council member Jerry Johnson wanted fellow council members to give a statement to The Franklin Sun about why they changed their vote on the peddler’s fee. Johnson made the request in his comments.

Town Council members introduced a resolution on March 5 that would have required all “itinerant vendors/peddlers participating in the Franklin Parish Catfish Festival” pay a $1 fee for this year’s event and $75 fee for future events.

The March 5 motion to introduce the ordinance was made by Johnson with a second from Town Council member Rex McCarthy.

The April meeting was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In the Oct. 20 meeting, Town Councilmen passed a $200 itinerant vendor and peddler’s fee. The measure passed on a 4-1 vote with Town Council member Jerry Johnson giving the only no vote.

Town Council member Rex McCarthy made the motion with a second from Town Council member Tyrone Coleman.

“I think we owe the people of Winnsboro and Franklin Parish an explanation because the Franklin Parish Catfish Festival as we knew it is gone,” Johnson said.

Town Council members did not give a statement to The Franklin Sun.

The ordinance originated from a 2001 Louisiana law stipulating all arts and craft shows acquire an annual operating license not exceeding $200. Under the law, all vendors / peddlers will have to exhibit their occupational licenses they receive from Winnsboro.

“The news media said it was 20,000 people that came at one time,” Dumas said. “$5 added to the gate fee would have given them enough financial stability in order to do what needed to be done. Why is it the city needs to forego the determination that was done by the mayor and four councilmen 19 years ago that they have to turn around and give this up in order to give up funds that will be available to the city.”

The ordinance has been on Winnsboro’s books for years but no previous administration has upheld it.

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