Police Jury President Shane Smiley.JPG

A Metairie company hired by the Ouachita Parish Police Jury to pick up storm debris in the wake of Hurricane Laura will assist the cities of Monroe and West Monroe as well as Richwood and Sterlington in their efforts to recover from the devastating storm.

The Police Jury signed off on a cooperative endeavor agreement with the four municipalities Tuesday night to formalize an arrangement that officials hope will lead to a quick clean-up parish-wide. Police jurors acted on the matter at their regular meeting, which was pushed to Tuesday evening because Monday was a holiday.

Under the agreement, Monroe and West Monroe will reimburse the Police Jury for debris that DRC Emergency Services picks up in the two cities. Monroe and West Monroe will spearhead their own clean-up efforts in their respective municipalities with DRC providing supplemental assistance.

In Richwood and Sterlington, DRC will pick up storm debris that’s placed in the parish right-of-way. The Police Jury did not require the two towns to pay for services DRC renders.

The fee schedule the Police Jury agreed to with DRC ranges from a low of $5.85 per cubic yard to more than $9 per cubic yard, depending on whether DRC picks up vegetative debris or bagged debris or large limbs and other materials. DRC will collect $4.25 per cubic yard for debris it grinds and $3.50 per cubic yard for debris it burns.

Police Jury President Shane Smiley sounded a note of caution as DRC’s efforts kicked into high gear earlier this week though the Police Jury does not have a definitive schedule on when DRC will target designated areas of the parish. That information will come later, according to Smiley, and will be disseminated to the public through the press and social media.

Smiley said DRC would pick up vegetative debris first and deal with picking up bagged debris and limbs later.

“Our contractor will make two passes to pick up debris, though we would like to get it to one pass,” Smiley said. “The public just needs to place the debris at the street so our contractor can pick it up.”

“Some people are picky,” Smiley explained. “They have their debris in their backyards and will move it to the street when they know the contractor is coming.”

“The sooner we have a schedule, the better off we’ll be,” he added.

Jay Mitchell, an assistant district attorney who serves as legal counsel for the Police Jury, said details were still being worked out with DRC when the company would pick up bagged debris and limbs.

“We hope to have that nailed down as soon as possible,” Mitchell said.

On another front, the Police Jury gave Cadeville Water District the green light to issue $1.9 million in bonded indebtedness. Cadeville Water District will “construct and acquire additions, extensions and improvements to its drinking water system.”

Meanwhile, the Police Jury agreed to spend roughly $190,000 to renovate a building it previously bought to house the parish coroner. The building is located on Jackson Street. The coroner currently operates in rented space though the lease has expired, and the coroner has remained there on a month-to-month basis.

The coroner’s new location on Jackson Street will not be ready to occupy until well into 2021.

In other business, the Police Jury reappointed parish engineer Kevin Crosby to another three-year term on the board of the Monroe/West Monroe Convention & Visitors Bureau. Jurors also appointed Jeff Glover to a three-year term on the board at West Ouachita Sewer District No. 5.

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