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Wednesday, June 26, 2019

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Dispute continues over Golden Meadow seawall money

Dispute continues over Golden Meadow seawall money

Golden Meadow is still seeking $100,000 from Lafourche Parish government for what the town claims was promised for a seawall finished last year.

“I am writing in order to voice my discouragement with your actions regarding this matter,” Golden Meadow Mayor Joey Bouziga wrote last week in a letter to Parish President Jimmy Cantrelle. “In spite of the funds being budgeted for the past three consecutive years and December’s unanimous resolution of the Lafourche Parish Council in favor of upholding the Parish’s financial commitment, you refuse to make the agreed upon contribution.”

Cantrelle, in an emailed response to the Daily Comet and The Courier’s questions, denies that the parish owes the money.

“There is no active cooperative endeavor agreement between the parish and town of Golden Meadow for the Golden Meadow Seawall project,” Cantrelle said. “Since [the] council set aside funds without an agreement, the parish is not obligated to pay and faces no legal ramifications.”

Cantrelle said he had not responded to Bouziga’s letter as of today, (Tues., Mar. 27 publication date).

Bouziga addressed the Parish Council twice last year, on Oct. 23 and Nov. 14, about the situation. During both meetings, Cantrelle said the parish didn’t have the money. He also said the parish never signed a cooperative agreement with the town promising the money.

Similar projects have been given money from the parish without a formal agreement, Bouziga said in an interview Monday.

The $1.4 million floodwall runs along Bayou Lafourche near the south end of Golden Meadow and was completed in 2017. Money has been set aside for the past three budget years, Bouziga claims.

The Parish Council agreed in 2015 to give the town $100,000 in a budget amendment. According to budget documents, the council again approved the money in 2016.

The South Lafourche Levee District and the Greater Lafourche Port Commission each contributed $100,000.

Golden Meadow was originally budgeted to pay $50,000, but without the parish’s support, it has footed the additional $100,000 bill.

On Dec. 12, the council passed a resolution requesting the administration pay the money.

“Your actions will force the town to forego important projects and operate in a diminished capacity in order to compensate for the extra $100,000 for which it has relied upon the parish,” Bouziga wrote in the letter.

The town is investigating whether it has any legal right to the money, Bouziga said.

In the meantime, the town’s limited budget will be cut to make up for the cost, he said.

“I have little confidence that the town and parish can continue the many years of cooperation in servicing the needs of the citizens of Golden Meadow under your tenure as parish president,” Bouziga says in the letter.

-- Daily Comet Staff Writer Julia Arenstam can be reached at 448-7636 or Follow her on Twitter at @gingerale214.