Jury tells LAEL to pay up

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 15, 2010

VIDALIA — Louisiana Elastomer owes multiple Miss-Lou vendors upwards of $20,000 for work done on the facility more than a year ago.

After hearing complaints from the vendors, the Concordia Parish Police Jury voted Monday night to request LAEL pay what it owes to local companies before the jury will vote on tax breaks, an issue that was on the agenda, but tabled.

“If you have people that are doing work, and you haven’t got them paid in a year — I think something is wrong,” Juror Jimmy Jernigan said.

“I am for tax breaks for the company, and I am for more jobs being added into the community, but I think they ought to step up to the plate and pay the local businesses, especially after a year.”

Rubber recycling company LAEL sent a letter to the police jury requesting the benefits of the Enterprise Zone and Quality Jobs programs, both of which would offer the company tax breaks or other incentives.

LAEL plans to expand its business in Concordia Parish, establishing 121 new jobs and adding an annual $3.73 million to its payroll. The project will include building a new facility on D.A. Biglane Road, which is adding 20 construction jobs.

LAEL currently employees 35 people at its original facility and one at its office building.

In other news, the police jury paid Geotechnical Testing Laboratory $6,365 and J.B. Esnard $14,022.23 for efforts in roadwork that followed a settlement in the litigation against Blain Companies of Natchez.

The police jury settled out of court with Blain Companies for phase I roadwork done in 2007; the work was causing erosion among other problems. Blain Companies redid the work as part of the settlement, and Geotechnical Testing Laboratory tested the roads. Esnard was the consultant hired to oversee the phase II project.