The Ouachita Parish Police Jury expects to consider options for draining D’Arbonne Hills, a subdivision north of West Monroe off Wall Williams Road, at its meeting next week.
At its May 18 meeting, the Police Jury received a preliminary estimate from parish consulting engineer Kevin Crosby that the drainage improvements could cost anywhere from $500,000 to $800,000.
“Where would we get this half a million?” said Police Jury Vice President Jack Clampit.
Attorney District Attorney Jay Mitchell, who serves as the Police Jury’s legal counsel, noted the project required work on a discharge pipe that was not tied to the roadway, though the Police Jury does not tackle off-road drainage projects.
“You actually have a pipe outside the road right of way that is solely carrying road water,” Mitchell said.
Clampit argued the Police Jury did not have enough money to consider the project, especially since no money was budgeted for the project.
“I’m not arguing that we don’t have to do something,” Clampit said.
Clampit referred to projections the Police Jury’s general fund revenues might drop by $568,000 while public works revenues might drop by some $1.5 million.
Police Juror Larry Bratton also questioned the urgency of the project.
“It’s more of a question of exposure,” said Crosby, referring to potential legal liabilities.
Mitchell, the Police Jury’s legal counsel, declined to elaborate on Crosby’s remarks.
“I’d prefer not to talk about that in public meeting, but I’d be happy to speak with you about possible implications,” Mitchell said.
Parish officials agreed the project could not be funded through the economic development sales tax because the the sales tax revenues were intended for “big projects, not maintenance” like drainage improvements.
Police Juror Scotty Robinson pointed out the D’Arbonne Hills subdivision was in his district.
“I have no intention of making a motion to spend money we don’t have,” Robinson said.
Robinson said he would review options for resolving the drainage problem by the Police Jury’s next meeting.