Two agencies submit grant applications to run Head Start

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Grant will fund improvements to Payne sewer system

By Carolyn Roy, carolyn@natchitochestimes.com

Breast Center -October 2020 -300×250 #2

A potential guarantor for the Head Start program was scheduled to examine local facilities said Director of the Office of Community Services Sharon Harris Monday at the Parish Council meeting. Two agencies, Save the Children and Pine Belt Head Start, have submitted grant applications for the local program that expires June 30. Parish President Rick Nowlin said the two applications are being evaluated in Washington, D.C., and he does not know when the decision will be made.

“We don’t know and we don’t know when we will know,” Nowlin said. There are several questions concerning the transition from Parish Government to a new guarantor. One is what unemployment benefits will be due from Parish Government when the transition takes place. Nowlin said that if the new agency hires none of the current employees, Parish Government will owe between $60,000 and $65,000; if they hire half of the employees, the cost will be $30,000; if they hire 75 percent of the employees, the cost will be $15,000.

Pat Ward-Hoover asked if health insurance premiums will increase if the number of employees decreases. Human Resources Coordinator Cathy Creamer said that the current individual insurance premiums will remain the same for the rest of the year, even if the number of employees decrease. Creamer said future premiums could be affected. Employees who leave Head Start will be offered COBRA coverage.

Nowlin reported major news about a $756,000 La. Community Development Block Grant to fund improvements to the sewer system in Payne Subdivision. The grant will pay for the design and construction of a new terminal lift station and treatment plant. The Parish Government highway department has been busy during the last two months according to Public Works Director John Richmond. The department received 500 phone calls during January and February and has performed 526 jobs year-to-date.

Employees have installed about two dozen culverts. Over the last two months, it rained during 45 percent of the work days. Ward-Hoover asked about expenses in the highway department, namely the salary of former highway director, Earl Townsend. Richmond said Townsend is an hourly employee and works some on most days. His salary was budgeted for six months and he should be phased out by the end of March. Residents who live on Beau Vista Road want to enter a cost-sharing agreement with Parish Government to repair a section of the road that is 500 feet long, or 7,000 square feet.

Durwood Duke, who lives on the road, said there has been no maintenance on the road in 20 years. The road was built in 1972. Scooter Perot, who lives on the road, secured three bids for the maintenance that he was to give to Richmond. Residents who live on Kayla Drive plan to enter a similar agreement. Richmond said the biggest expense is the cost of the equipment. He will explore whether the two jobs can be done at about the same time so the equipment will not have to be moved so far.

Nowlin said the highway department must determine the costs and determine if there is money to do the maintenance. The council will vote on the Beau Vista plan at the April meeting. In Nowlin’s president’s report, he said that the parish treasurer’s position has been advertised and the application period ended March 22. Parish Treasurer Debbie Miley will leave the Parish to be the City finance director March 25.