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|Feasibility study for Old River Weir|
The Concordia Parish Police Jury, in cooperation with the Town of Vidalia, agreed Monday night to request a feasibility study for the construction of a weir on the mouth of Old River at Marengo Bend, upstream from the Mississippi River Bridge.
The idea of the proposal is to see if it's feasible to raise the water level of Old River to improve sport fishing and to improve Ferriday water, which comes from Old River.
Joe Woods, a retired Corps of Engineers employee, is working as a liaison between local governing bodies and the Corps on the feasibility request. Engineer Bryant Hammett also was involved in the discussion at the Jury's meeting.
Woods prepared a letter approved by the Jury Monday night requesting the feasibility study by asking that the Corps "armor (the) weir and leave the crest elevation 7 feet (plus or minus) above the crest of the existing weir."
The Police Jury and Town of Vidalia are acting as co-sponsors of the feasibility request.
"It's only a feasibility study request," said Jury President Melvin Ferrington. "After they do a feasibility study, if the request is accepted, then public hearings would follow. Nothing will be done without public hearings and everybody will have their say."
The letter prepared by Woods notes that the study "would be federally funded up to $100,000," adding that the public bodies included "are capable of fulfilling our financial obligations; in general, providing 25 percent of the total project cost which includes furnishing lands, easements, rights-of-way, relocations and disposal areas, and we will operate and maintain the project upon completion."
The proposed weir would be "constructed high enough to provide a minimum pool suitable to support sport fishing."
Vidalia employee Glen McGlothin and Mayor-elect of Ferriday, said the town's water plant has been a problem since its construction 20 years ago, noting that during the summer months "we're sucking off the bottom. The town is losing $300,000 a year on chemicals and the plant has been losing money for 20 years."
He said a higher water level on Old River would improve the quality of water Ferriday consumers.
In other business, the Jury:
• Approved Macon Ridge's Initiative Pilot Program application to rehabilitate housing for elderly residents. Buddy Spillers said at least nine homes throughout the parish are available for the project in Concordia.
• Hired Patricia King as a bookkeeper and Marion Stewart as a prison guard. Stewart will manage a second prisoner work crew.
• Voted to purchase a utility trailer for the prison work crew from the low bidder -- Jesse Davis Wrecker -- for $1,375.
• Hired Davenport, Files & Kelly to handle litigation against Blain Companies concerning the Phase 1 road hardsurfacing project at the following rates: $150 per hour for Mike Sanders, $150 per hour for David Hammett, $125 per hour for Lara Lane and $45 per hour for paralegal.
• Appointed Glen McGlothin to the Atchafalaya Trace Commission to replace Teresa Dennis and named Liz Brooking as an alternate.
• Set a 15 miles per hour speed limit on Frazier and Peal Cross roads.
• Approved a request from the library to renovate two rooms at the old courthouse for a computer lab.
• Voted to pay up to $1,500 for upgrades in the County Agent's office in the old courthouse to repair water damage caused by "a leaky roof."
• Voted to pay $195 to Bryant Hammett & Associates for right-of-way work on the Ridgecrest Canal and to pay $1,543.75 for mileage and inspections concerning St. James Church on Weeks Circle.
• Accepted the resignation of Betty King from Lake St. John Waterworks Commission.
• Approved an occupational license for Johnny Lee, Commercial Vegetation Eradication, 115 Patsy Brown Road, Monterey.
• Agreed to transfer $50,000 from the Sales Tax Fund to the Solid Waste Fund.
• Agreed to seek legal advice before accepting an insurance settlement of $160,400 for a Gradall totaled in an accident on Sept. 20, 2007. The insurance company -- National Interstate -- made the offer in representation of the client whose vehicle hit the Gradall.
Ferrington said the 2005 Gradall was purchased by the Jury on Dec. 5, 2006, for $200,000. A new model would sell today for $229,500, he said.
"We're going to talk to our legal advisor and with some other folks," said Ferrington. "We may not accept this offer. We were told by a Scott Truck & Tractor representative that our machine before the accident would have sold for $180,000."
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