Floodplain Management and other tales of delay by Parish Council

As another EA Drainage Board agenda has issued, Floodplain Management, promised over two years ago, was omitted again even though HNTB engineers delivered its work product in July.  Four months in the can, the work product is being held up by Chairman Dempsey Lambert in order to accommodate new courthouse construction which runs afoul of HNTB’s recommendations.  Management of floodplains is not the only area of delay.

At the August 6 (2018) Transportation Committee meeting Councilman Todd Lambert said:

“We can’t keep taking in roads like we’re doing.”

Lambert and certain of his colleagues were saying much the same thing in 2014 when, for six months, the issue of “Special Taxing Districts” to fund maintenance of new subdivision roads occupied Transportation and full Council meetings.  Then state senator, Jody Amedee twice drafted and filed enabling legislation to clear the way for the districts, resulting in what Parenton called “a watered down statute” signed into law by Governor Bobby Jindal on June 5, 2014.

Revised Statute 33:4690.13 became effective in August 2014 with a sunset provision rendering it inoperable ten years thereafter.  The Council has yet to follow up with a corresponding ordinance as a mile or so of new subdivision road is added to the maintenance system on a near monthly basis.

The Transportation Committee, now chaired by Councilman Aaron Lawler is, supposedly, considering a new solution; Road Infrastructure Development Districts.

“We have an issue right now,” declared Lawler from three months ago.  “We’re taking in so many roads and we don’t have the ability to fund the maintenance of them.”

The districts, should a developer opt in before building a subdivision, would assess an annual fee on eventual homeowners ($75 was mentioned by Planning Director Jerome Fournier) that would go toward road repair every 15 or 20 years.  Opting out would mean the parish would not accept those subdivision roads into the maintenance system.

September’s Transportation agenda omitted discussion, but the October 8 meeting included Item 17:

Continued discussion regarding process for adding subdivision roads into the parish system. (Aaron Lawler, Chairman, John Cagnolatti, Coucilman)

It didn’t happen as the item was deferred.