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|Police jury to continue grants|
Just hours after Gov. Bobby Jindal presented Franklin Parish a symbolic check of more than $6 million, the Police Jury took measures in its regular meeting to see that future grants continue to flow in to the parish.
The jury voted, following a brief required public meeting on the topic, to pursue grants from the Louisiana Community Development Block Grant program during the next funding year, 2010-2011.
Over $4 million of the funds which the governor brought to the parish in a symbolic check last week are from that block grant source.
"In the past, the parish has used funds from this source for road and street overlays, water projects and other public projects," said Kendall Magee, an officer in the Ball, La. firm which serves a an advisor to the jury for administration of grant funds.
"There's still a lot of people in this parish without public water," said Jury President Harvey Guimbellot during the public discussion to seek federal grant funds in the coming year.
Most of the discussion centered on the need to supply various parts of the parish with public water supplies and a need to reduce the number of private water wells.
Immediately following the action on future funding, the Jury approved administrative requirements which will allow spending of the $4.4 million which is currently available for hurricane recovery and infrastructure improvement.
Ken McManus, parish engineer, told the jury that the completion of about four projects, incuding Ash Slough and Crockett Point drainage systems, would deplete the existing funds. However, the parish must submit projects for state approval before any projects can begin.
"We need to develop a list of projects that can meet all the requirements for submission to the Louisiana Recovery Authority by Sept. 10," Magee told the jurors. "That means a lot of decisions between now and then," he said.
The jury also affirmed a commitment made to the Franklin Parish School System earlier this year.
The jury passed a resolution to keep an agreement with the school system to place asphalt leading to and around the Franklin Parish High School football stadium. The school system had offered to withdraw from a window replacement project in return for the asphalt project.
Auditors for the two agreeing bodies, the jury and the school board, objected to the arrangement earlier this year. It was unclear if objections of the auditors had been resolved.
In other actions, the jury offered a voice of support for a pipeline which will pass through the northern edge of the parish and discussed opening the Raspberry Bridge which crosses the Richland-Franklin parish lines.
"When I came on this jury in 2004, this bridge was closed," said K. W. "Buddy" Parks. Now, after spending $250,000, it's still closed, he said.
The bridge is subject to inspection by the Federal Emergency Management Agency because hurricane-related damages to the bridge can be eligible for federal reimbursement.