Parish can also help with issues in municipalities
Carolyn Roy | News Editor
The Parish Council began the process at its meeting Monday that will culminate in the resurfacing of Hart and Harmony Roads.
The council adopted a resolution that approved spending no more than $20,000 to hire a geotechnical testing firm to conduct borings and soil testing that will assist the Parish engineer in determining the best type of surface for the roads.
The council adopted a resolution in February committing American Rescue Plan funds for rehabilitation of those two roads.
In his monthly report, Parish President John Richmond listed that the preconstruction meeting has been held and pavement surveys are anticipated to begin this month on the Bermuda Road. This is the first step in resurfacing the road with funds from the Cane River Waterway Commission. If there is money left, the council hopes to spend it on resurfacing Patrick Road although there was no action taken.
There was discussion about a misconception that the Parish Government highway department cannot perform work in municipalities. Richmond said the Parish can help with materials, labor and equipment since residents pay the Road District 40 tax. The municipalities should call the highway department and make their requests.
Rodney Mallard returned for the second month to find out how the Shady Grove Road can be put on the maintenance list. He said the road is hilly with blind curves and is dangerous not only for residents but also for school buses. He said his son is bounced off of his seat while riding the bus. “What do we have to do to get on the list?” Mallard asked. The council members had no immediate solution and suggested Mallard contact Sen. Louie Bernard.
Mark Megason said he was speaking on behalf of a resident who lives on the Walter Durr Road that is a semi-circle with one end closed. Megason said there were several special needs residents and 911 addresses on the road who may need emergency medical services. The road is also on a mail route.
Interim Public Works Director Dustin Hightower said he cut brush on the roads but had run out of gravel. Heavy rain predicted will also delay work but he will give attention to the road once the rain stops. He will also erect more barricades to block the end that is impassable.
Speaking to the policy that limits public comments to 3 minutes, Council Chairman John Salter said he would like to start work sessions in which residents would have more time to speak about their problems. Several years ago, the former Police Jury held highway steering and solid waste committee meetings on Mondays with voting taking place on Wednesdays. “It would give the people more time to speak,” Salter said.
Parish Attorney Steven Mansour said he would determine if the meetings would be legal by consulting with the La. Attorney General.
The council adopted three ordinances after discussing them in a public hearing.
•006-2022 corrected residential development permit fees from $3/1,000 square feet to 70 cents per square foot for commercial and 45 cents for residential. There was a mistake in the previous ordinance.
•007-2022 amended the minimum acreage for subdividing property; 22,500 square feet is required to accommodate a sewer system.
•008-2022 allows Parish President to enter into franchise agreements primarily with cell towers and gas utilities with new fees dedicated to the highway fund.
The only ordinance introduced was one removing recording policy from the personnel manual if it is in conflict with State law. It was introduced last month but the motion to do so died for lack of a second.
The only appointment was that of Gregory A. Brock to the Saline Lake Game and Fish Preserve Board.
Village of Natchez Alderwoman Monique Sarpy asked the council to consider giving financial help to pay for asbestos and lead paint abatement at the City Hall.