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Story Archives: Jury puts brakes on sewer system
|Jury puts brakes on sewer system|
After learning last week of ways to assist a failing small sewer system without owning it, the Franklin Parish Police Jury put the brakes on plans to buy the Washington Subdivision sewer system near Wisner.
Instead, the Jury will ask for legal assistance in the creation of either a special interest district or a non-profit organization to take over operation of the system.
Doyle Robinson, area representative of Delta Regional Authority, suggested the jury investigate the alternatives during a special jury meeting held last Friday.
The moved to take over the failing system about two weeks ago after begin advised not to take any actions toward restoring the system until ownership could be changed. Now, the jury will look for solutions to maintenance problems without owning the system.
"I'm hurt, I'm really hurt," said Juror Jackie Johnson following passage, 3-1 of Troy Hendry's motion to resend the purchase motion to purchase and to look into other solutions. "We're better people that than," he said.
Johnson offered strong support for purchasing and repairing the ailing system in recent meetings.
In presenting other solutions, Robinson said:
"One way would be to form a non-profit system through the Secretary of State, form a board to assess fees and administer a sewer system. The jury could assist in the formation of the board but will would not be liable.
"Another option is to form a special purpose service district by ordinance, much like a fire district or a hospital district," he said.
He added, "I urge you to consult with the district attorney to see if either of these two courses would be better than the course you are pursuing."
Robinson told the attending jurors that there were advantages and disadvantages to either of his two proposals, but that federal funds would likely be available to either. A non-profit organization would not be eligible for future state funds, he cautioned.
Jurors Buddy Parks, Ray Young and Troy and several members of the attending audience railed at unknown future costs of owning and maintaining a sewer system for the 52 homes outside of Wisner on highway 562.
"But we've been told time and time again that we have to own before we can get the money to fix it," said Johnson.
Early in the discussion, Robinson reported there were no pre-approved funds available. Assumptions that there were unused Delta Regional Authority funds were incorrect, Robinson said.
Regarding his agency as a likely source for funds, Robinson added: "I think the change in emphasis is toward funding economic development and is moving away from community development," and that the Delta Regional Authority would not continue to be a funding source for similar projects.
"The USDA is interested in self-sustaining systems," Robinson said.
In other issues raised at the special meeting, the jury refused to pay expenses for jurors Johnson and Leroy Scott to attend a two-day Black Caucus Empowerment Summit later this week and Johnson withdrew the request.
Certified Public Accountant Doyle Hassell and realtor Kathy Morris were named to the Workforce Investment Board.