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Sunday, July 14, 2019

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Council considers agenda items, criticizes DOTD

Council considers agenda items, criticizes DOTD

The Lafourche Parish Council met on Tuesday to consider several important agenda items. The council agreed to amend an ordinance which requires boards, agencies and non-profit organizations that receive money from the parish to now submit their audited financial reports to the Legislative Internal Auditor who will review the audited statements and submit findings to the council prior to any parish funds being transferred.

In the past, the Lafourche Parish Finance Department received such reports.

The council also favored by resolution an arrangement between the state and the parish to fund the Industrial Floodwall Drainage Project Phase II in Larose. Over $5 million will come from FEMA, through Louisiana’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness and its Hazard Mitigation Grant Program.

The project will elevate a portion of Industrial Park Road leading to North American Shipyard and improve about 2800 feet of floodwall along the Intracoastal Waterway.

The council also approved an ordinance amending the parish’s Code of Ordinances as it pertains to use of parish-owned vehicles, particularly the guidelines for suspending driving privileges due to an employee’s poor driver performance rating.

In these and all other ordinances or resolutions, the council voted unanimously in favor, with Councilmen Toups, Arnold and Jones absent.

The council also received a report on the Bayou Lafourche Saltwater Control Structure project which will move the lock from the Company Canal to a site in Bayou Lafourche near the northern intersection of Hwy. 1 and Crescent Avenue in Lockport.

The lock, when closed, is designed to prevent salt water from entering the parish’s drinking water which comes directly from Bayou Lafourche.

According to project engineer Laura Barnes of CB&I (Houma), final permits should be received by November 14, advertisement for bids will be accepted in December, and the project should take about 180 days to complete.
Also, during general discussion Councilmen Jerry Lafont and Daniel Lorraine expressed disappointment with the state’s transportation department over council requests for improved safety measures on road ways in the parish.

DOTD responded to two recent council resolutions requesting speed reductions in some areas and a caution light on LA 308 by informing the parish that the state’s criteria for change was not met.

Lafont read the transportation department’s responses, and said their inaction is “fooling with people’s lives.”

“I wish the people from Baton Rouge in the DOTD would come and give up their children or their loved ones to the red light gods because we’re tired of giving up ours,” he stated.

Lorraine said the standards DOTD uses are for large cities, not rural areas.

“You’re not going to meet the criteria like in Jefferson Parish. It’s not going to happen,” he said.