Archived Story

Drainage info needed from public

Published 12:03am Tuesday, June 26, 2012

VIDALIA — Concordia Parish drainage woes may flow more smoothly if the State of Louisiana sends money down the pipe.

Dona Remides, the grant writer for the Concordia Parish Police Jury, said officials from the drainage division of the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development were impressed with the parish’s application for a grant.

Remides asked the jury at its regular Monday meeting to send a resolution naming its top drainage priority to submit to the state.

She also asked for help gathering written statements and photos of flooding from the past 10 years after distributing to jurors 50 photos she had already compiled.

“(DOTD) wants pictures of flooding — crop fields, roads (and) statements from individuals who have experienced flooding,” Remides said. “They need everything in next week to DOTD.”

Remides said she applied, with the help of the parish drainage committee, for the grant through the statewide flood control program with the LDOTD.

Remides said the drainage committee flagged an area off of Luke Martin Road as the highest priority.

Fixing problems in that area would take the majority of the water coming from Lake St. John out of Buckner Bayou and send it north with the use of a gravity flow structure, jurors said.

The gravity structure would run water from Clayton into the Tensas River, and a weir would be installed in Brushy Bayou, Police Jury President Melvin Ferrington said after the meeting.

Ferrington said implementing the changes would allow the water to flow the way it used to flow before the ring levees were installed.

“That’s the way the water used to flow. It’s a more natural flow,” Ferrington said.

At Remides’ request, the jury unanimously voted to sign a resolution identifying area near Luke Martin Road as the No. 1 priority.

In other business at Monday’s meeting:

• The board voted to adopt an ordinance regulating political signs.

Police Juror Whest Shirley said he looked at policies in similar parishes and cities to design a sign ordinance after realizing Concordia Parish didn’t have one.

The ordinance says it is unlawful to post advertisements of any character on public right-of-ways without authority from the police jury. Political signs on private property must be placed within 60 days before the date of an election and removed not more than 10 days after the election.

Violation of the ordinance is punishable by up to $100 fine and 30 days of imprisonment.

The jury adopted ordinance No. 2012-04 unanimously.

• The jury voted unanimously to put a measure on the Dec. 8 election ballot to levy a $50 parcel fee for the Monterey Fire Protection District for residents within the district.

Police Jurors Jimmy Jernigan and Red Tiffee said it was a good measure, and Jernigan encouraged people to vote in favor of it because it could save individuals more than $50.

Jim Graves, chief of the Monterey Fire Protection District, a volunteer fire department, said the money would allow the department to maintain beneficial fire ratings, hire a full-time employee and replace a 35-year-old fire truck. He said if passed, the parcel would be separate from taxes and come as a bill to all residents, including those with camps in the area who don’t live there permanently.

The majority of the calls come from those out-of-town, part-time residents, Graves said.

• The jury voted to renew the contract with the Institute for Building Technology and Safety for building inspection and flood plain management.

Larry Walters from IBTS said the new contract includes some changes, including the ability for permit applicants to apply online and pay fees directly to IBTS with a credit card.

• Heather Urena from the Kisatchie-Delta Regional Planning and Development District said the district got word that a project for renovations on the Concordia Parish Public Health Unit in Ferriday may receive $150,000 from the state. Those funds will possibly be used to make the building compliant with the American’s with Disabilities Act. She said the district has worked for years for money to come through on the project.

• Urena also said the jury is not financially responsible if a contractor that the parish planned to pay using a federal Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Program Grant fails to correctly document compliance with “Buy America.”

The work in question is for air conditioning units at the courthouse.

• The jury will host a public hearing at its July 9 meeting to reduce the speed limit to 25 mph at Shady Circle.