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Wednesday, December 4, 2019

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Parish Government gets unexpected windfall

Parish Government gets unexpected windfall

$1.7 million from Lafourche Home Mortgage Authority to go to parish government

In a surprise announcement at Tuesday’s public meeting of the Lafourche Parish Council, the board of the Lafourche Home Mortgage Authority announced its own disbanding and the laying down of its powers and duties.

The eye-opener in all this is the offering of its remaining fund balance of approximately $1.7 million to Lafourche Parish Government.

As indicated by member Stephen Peltier, “The board has accomplished everything it set out to do. We have voted to terminate ourselves.”

The Lafourche Home Mortgage Authority was established in 1979 after the U.S. Congress, in the wake of runaway inflation and high interest rates, authorized local governments to issue bonds for low-income housing.

“Over the years, about $18 million of bond money has been disseminated in the parish to 400-500 low income families to build homes,” said member James Barnidge.

According to Barnidge, the bonds have amortized over 34 years and the result of prudent oversight has led to all bonds and mortgages being paid.

The Authority did ask for certain stipulations regarding how the money is used.

“It is the recommendation of the board that $200,000 be spent on recreation and parks, that $200,000 be spent on the new Career School to be built in Lockport, and $200,000 be given to Nicholls State University,” said Barnidge.

“The remaining $1.1 million is at your disposal,” he said.

By state legislative edict, the money can only be spent on capital improvements.

“This is like a gift from heaven. Thank you for all you’ve done,” said Parish President Charlotte Randolph in praising the board.

The revelation was even more interesting in light of recent discussions regarding the fund balances of various boards and commissions within the parish, some having been identified as sources of funding to help pay for a new detention center in Lafourche.