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Sunday, June 16, 2019

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SL Levee District guardedly optimistic for 2018

SL Levee District guardedly optimistic for 2018

With guarded optimism toward future plans for levee maintenance and improvement, the South Lafourche Levee District held its first meeting of the 2018 on Monday.

During a slide presentation, Levee District General Manager Windell Curole listed some of the “successes” in 2017 such as repairing a seepage issue, the Yankee Canal levee improvement and work near the Holy Rosary Catholic Church in Larose.

Minor seepage in a portion of Section F, water migrating through the base of the levee just south of Delta Farms, has been contained, said Curole.

He showed several pictures of work at Pump Station #4 as well as the adjacent Yankee Canal levee, citing a need for continued strengthening in that area.

Pump Station #4 has an elevation of plus 20-feet and is vulnerable because the levee’s 90-degree configuration there, said Curole.

The Yankee Canal levee which saw considerable improvement in 2017 will now be maintained by SLLD after an agreement with the Parish.

Curole showed pictures of the Larose area near the Intracoastal Waterway where levee and floodwall improvements to plus 13-feet have been finalized.

Curole also gave a forecast of upcoming work.

SLLD will move forward with work on the Reach L levee, a stretch from Grand Bayou to Apache Farms west of Larose. This work will eventually tie in to the Reach K levee project which is moving north from Pointe-Aux-Chene.

He also updated ongoing work on the LA Hwy. 3235/ Hwy. 24 intersection where a gate on the northbound lane is under construction. The southbound lane of Hwy. 3235 has already been raised.

The District plans to begin work on raising LA1 near the Leon Theriot Lock in Golden Meadow during 2018.

All these efforts are contingent on what Curole calls a “limited” 2018 budget, one which has been affected by the downturn in the local economy as well as by a $3 million judgment against SLLD over the value of land taken for levee improvements in the west Galliano area.

Curole said that based on estimates, SLLD will realize about $800,000 less in property and sales tax and other income in the coming year. This will affect the levee district’s ability to initiate smaller projects.

The $3 million judgment, which represents about 27% of SLLD’s yearly tax income, will put smaller jobs on hold, said Curole.

“For the next three months, we will have to shut down work with local contractors,” he noted. “We will have to tighten our cash flow, look at what it takes to open our doors and maintain levees, the pump stations, and the lock and flood gates. We think that with monthly sales tax money, we can get a gap created, an excess where we can get back to some construction like improving levees until we can get our budget back on line.”