Parish got $7.6 million in grant funding last year

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Carolyn Roy | News Editor
Parish Government received $7.6 million in grants during 2021 according to Parish President John Richmond’s annual report that is required in the Home Rule Charter.
Richmond presented the report during the Parish Council meeting Monday and acknowledged Treasurer Julie Lockhart and Human Resources Coordinator Cathy Creamer for working on the grants.

This article published in the March 26, 2022, print edition

They included:
•American Rescue Plan: $3.7 million for road rehabilitation, rural water systems and drainage
•FEMA: $1.1 million primarily for Hurricane Laura cost reimbursement
•La. Government Assistance Program: $64,977 for road maintenance equipment
•Community Water Enrichment Funds: $78,360 for rural water system
•Cane River Waterway Commission: $2 million for Fish Hatchery Road rehabilitation
•Office of Community Services: $633,192 for client services
The grants were used for improvement of rural water systems, drainage/flood control, roads and community services.
Parish Government is working to secure $10.7 million that will be received in 2022. They include:
•La. Watershed Initiative: $3.4 million for East Natchitoches Drainage Canal
•US Forest Service: $206,722 for Kisatchie Forest area parish road
•American Rescue Plan: $3.7 million for road rehabilitation
•FEMA: $327,710 for Marco Road Rehabilitation
•Community Water Enrichment Fund: $600,000 for rural water systems
•Cane River Waterway Commission: $2.5 million for Bermuda Road rehabilitation
The report states that no additional taxes were required for Fish Hatchery and Bermuda roads.
The Parish completed about 20 miles of asphalt pulverization with feedback from local residents being positive overall.
Richmond said the highway department put substantially more road materials on the roads in 2021 than in most previous years with increased efficiency.
Budgets continue to be transparent with every expenditure scrutinized and cost management done daily.
Future projects include rehabilitation of a section of Marco Road damaged by Cane River; rehabilitation of Harmony and Hart roads; start of East Natchitoches Drainage Canal; federal funding to assist in installation of Rural Broadband Internet service; and goal of breaking down “rural versus City” mentality.
The report touched on the response to the COVID-Pandemic.
Regarding COVID-19, he said the Courthouse remained open; justice was served in the court rooms; elections were held; and the Clerk of Court, Tax Assessor, Planning Commission and Sheriff’s Department continued to work tirelessly.
Also during the pandemic, the Office of Community service continued to administer commodities, provided utility and rent assistance, coordinated senior companion programs and increased their work loads by helping the public apply for and receive funding from State and Federal grant opportunities.
Richmond said the residents continued long-term recovery from Hurricane Laura and endured frozen or broken water systems with Parish government seeking solutions. By partnering with rural water systems and State government, Parish Government helped bridge the funding gap by securing grant funding for improvement of six rural water systems and no increase in parish taxes.
Parish Government will continue its priorities of funding roads, bridges and drainage projects.
Richmond said he will continue to work with the public and private sectors on economic development projects to bring more employment to the parish. “Natchitoches is a great place to live and do business,” Richmond said.