Last Modified: Friday, November 16, 2012 1:08 PM
The Calcasieu Parish Police Jury voted 13-1 on Thursday to seek bids on a project to extend the Mallard Junction water lines along McCown and Boys Village roads, despite some residents opposing a charge of up to $3,000 for the work.
Allen Wainwright, parish public works director, said just over 100 homeowners would get water from the existing line. More than 60 percent of residents living within the area approve the project. The work would take place in Waterworks District 5 of Wards 3 and 8, which the Police Jury oversees.
Wainwright said a homeowner would be charged a front footage assessment fee of $15 per foot, with $3,000 being the maximum charge for 200 feet or more. Jay Delafield, bond council for the waterworks district, said a lien would be placed on a homeowner who does not pay the charge within 30 days of being notified. But, he said, they could pay a monthly charge of $20 over a 20-year period.
District 10 Police Juror Tony Stelly and District 4 Police Juror Tony Guillory represent the area where the water lines would be extended. Stelly said the work would give residents safe drinking water and better fire protection. “I think it’s improving Calcasieu Parish,” he said. “Over the years, I’ve had people ask me, ‘When are we going to get water on McCown Road?’ I can’t see how this is not a good deal.”
Stelly said the project is expected to cost more than $700,000. More than half would be paid by the water district and parish gambling funds.
Roger Theriot, who lives on Palomino Drive just off Boys Village Road, said he is against the project because he is building a home next door and has already paid for a well that is 500 feet deep.
“Why should I pay for this water?” Theriot said.
Aaron Toups, who lives on McCown Road, said he is against the additional cost and that the Police Jury should spend more time considering the issue.
“I don’t have $3,000,” he said. “There’s a lot of us that don’t. I don’t want to pay for water I don’t want.”
Stelly said some people in his district “would gladly pay that money for drinking water.”
District 13 Police Juror Francis Andrepont said the number of people who want the water lines outweighs those who don’t.
“We would not be having this discussion if the petition hadn’t been passed and 60 percent of people have signed it,” he said. “The majority has to prevail. We’re not going to please everybody.”
Andrepont, Stelly, Guillory, Sandra Treme, Shannon Spell, Hal McMillin, James Mayo, Chris Landry, Dennis Scott, Nic Hunter, Kevin Guidry, Elizabeth Griffin and Guy Brame voted for the measure.
Ray Taylor opposed.
The proposal must be approved by the State Bond Commission. It was designed by Lancon Engineers Inc.
The parish’s proposed 2013 budget is $145.3 million, which is about $3 million more than the $142.3 million allocated in its current budget, said Parish Administrator Bryan Beam.
Beam said the 2.1 percent budget growth is slightly lower than the 2.2 percent national inflation rate. He said the proposed budget “maintains vital services at a very modest increase.”
Beam said the parish has seen a rise in revenue from sales and property taxes. He said the budget includes an employee wage increase of 2.25 percent.
The Police Jury has scheduled a public hearing on the budget for Dec. 6. After that, it requires approval by the full Police Jury.