Road controversy consumed Parish Council discussions

This Google Maps view of the intersection of Allen-Marthaville Road and LA-485 is the general vicinity of the road work controversy discussed at several recent Parish Council meetings.

Carolyn Roy | News Editor
“Beating a dead horse” is a trite and over-used term in journalism, but it aptly fits discussion of what took up the most time at the Parish Council meeting Wednesday.
For the third month, a group of residents have showed up to protest work done by the Parish highway department on a stretch of the Allen-Marthaville Road. They claim the work was unnecessary because there are no houses there and insist they are not getting accurate information from the Parish Council.
Mark Megason says that hunters requested the work be done because the road is near their hunting camps. He says they tore up the road and the highway department hauled in materials to make the road passable. Megason says he witnessed the crew working on the road five days and another witness told him he saw the crews on the road two more days for a total of seven. He believes employees “lied” about the time and materials spent on the road when it could have been better spent on roads where more people live and that are accessed by emergency vehicles, mail carriers and school buses.
Several others spoke in support of Megason, insisting Parish President John Richmond tell them who put the road on the work list, who approved the order, how much material was used and numerous other questions that were also raised at the November and December meetings.

This article published in the Jan. 22, 2022 print edition

Council member John Salter said it appeared the biggest problem was priority of the road work.
Marty Cheatwood, in whose district the road is located, said the council must keep the roads passable according to ordinance, that part of the road was in the maintenance system and had a 9-1-1 address.
In past meetings, Richmond said there was no way to know who put the road on the work schedule because there was no record of who called about it. He gave the men a copy of the highway department report that says $22,808 was spent on the road. Richmond told them no matter which road was worked, someone who lived on another road would complain. He told them he had given them all the information he had, he did not put the request in and he would no longer comment.
Salter said the only way he could determine answers to some of their questions was to follow every truck and vehicle load that leaves the highway department and check the mileage.
Interim Highway Director Dustin Hightower told the men they were “beating a dead horse.” He was not there when the work was done, had given them the information requested, there was nothing new to talk about and he would no longer comment as well.
Still, the last question was who requested the work and why was it done on an abandoned road that was 20 years old.
In other business, the Parish Council confirmed the re-appointment of Emile Metoyer to the Natchitoches Parish Water Works District 2 Board and Carole O’Quinn to the Fire District 5 board.
The council introduced four ordinances that will be voted on at the next meeting. They included:
•Abandonment of Ashley Lane
•Zoning change from IA to Residential 1 for three tracts of land to be subdivided into residential lots from parent tract of approximately 257 acres; the lots have no physical address.
•Transferred interest in old Marthaville Hospital Building to Marthaville Heritage Society.
•Will remove section 1.11 from recording policy from the Natchitoches Parish Personnel manual because of the Constitution and the Revised Statute.
After a public hearing, the Council took action on the following ordinances:
•Approved zoning amendment of 3.64 acre tract of land from 1A to B1 for office at 118 Campti Bayou Road for tribal business.
•Approved zoning change from IA to B-3 for restaurant with alcohol sales on 1.145 acre tract at 1678 La. Hwy. 504 near the Vaughn Dealership.
•Tabled putting Quitman Mitchem Road back into parish road system since there has been no communication from nearby landowners. It is now named Donald Tynes Road.
The Council took action on the following resolutions:
•Authorized Parish President to execute amended Cooperative Endeavor Agreement with Cane River Waterway Commission for additional Commission funding for resurfacing of Bermuda Road and subsequently award contract to low bidder to Regional Construction LLL in the amount of $2,233,133 because of error on last amount of $2,028,833 given at the December meeting. The amended amount is still within the budget of the approved amount of $2,500,000 from the Waterway Commission.
•Tabled naming agent of record and naming Risk Services for auto, inland marine, workers’ compensation and all coverage except health coverage.