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|Renovations, repair projects top Police Jury agenda|
Kisatchie-Delta Executive Director Heather Urena told the Concordia Parish Police Jury Monday night that work is continuing to obtain a grant to renovate the Concordia Parish Health Unit building in Ferriday.
Jury President Melvin Ferrington said the health unit has around $170,000 available for the renovation work but that the project was halted last year when a bid for remodeling costs far exceeded the money on hand.
"The total bid was about $370,000," said Ferrington. "That's why we're looking for a grant."
Heather Urena said Kisatchie-Delta's goal for its eight-parish region was "the creation and retention of jobs and quality of life." She said the agency would also assist in seeking grant monies for the repair of the roof of the old courthouse in Vidalia.
Ferrington asked the Finance Committee to look into ways to pay for the roof repair, which will cost $71,740, according to a bid from Dixie Roofing. The bid includes a 20-year warranty.
Jurors indicated that a second bid of $140,000 from Dixie for a gabled roof was too expensive.
The Concordia Parish Library is planning to spend about $250,000 to renovate two rooms in the old courthouse -- one as a computer lab and the other as a conference room, which will be open to the public. Several Library Board members spoke with. Ferrington and juror Whest Shirley about the deteriorated roof prior to the jury meeting. Before beginning the work, Library Director Amanda Taylor said the Library Board wants the Jury to do maintenance on the roof that will benefit all of the agencies who occupy the building.
"We may talk to legislators about emergency funding for the roof," said Ferrington. He said the Jury has already applied for a $90,000 grant for a new air conditioning system there.
Urena said it would be difficult to get a traditional grant for the roof repair because she said state and federal funds are often not available for projects which officials think are needed "due to what they see as a lack of maintenance."
Finance Committee Chairman Randy Temple said the money for the roof repair could likely be found "but we'll have to be careful with our budget."
The new Vidalia library is attached to the old courthouse. Offices inside the old courthouse include the LSU ag center, Council on Aging, and District Attorney Child Services.
Ferrington said the jury is also seeking a $600,000 grant through Homeland Security to repair the roof on the new courthouse.
In other action, the Jury is considering its future role in operation of the Doty Road Community Center in Ferriday. The District Attorney's office recently advised in a letter to the Jury that a lease agreement between the Jury and the Sheriff's Office "has expired" although it "does continue to remain in force on a year to year basis."
DA Brad Burget and Asst. DA Ann Siddall advised that the lease should be renegotiated "in order to clarify and specify the complete duties and obligations of both parties."
The main issue is "potential liability of the Police Jury in the event of an injury suffered on the premises or grounds of the center..." An additional concern would be "if harm or injury occurred off premise, but was caused by a worker at the center. While the lease provides that the Sheriff will hold harmless the Police Jury in the event of a lawsuit, this does not shield the Jury from a lawsuit."
The DA's office suggested that "it may well be in the Police Jury's interest to explore the possibility of either selling or donating the Center to the Sheriff or some other entity. This would relieve the Jury of all responsibility of the Center."
Activities at the Doty Road Center include tutoring, meals for low-income children provided by the Food Bank of Central Louisiana, special events such as reunions and birthday parties, meetings, recreation events such as basketball, ping pong, badminton, horseshoes, and playground equipment for children.
In other business, the Jury:
-- Voted to advertise for the purchase of a pot hole patcher and chipper.
-- Agreed to pay Parish Attorney Association dues of $40.
-- Accepted the resignation of Neeva Sibley from the District Two Recreation Board and appointed John Bostic in her place.
-- Appointed Henderson Cook to the Concordia Economic and Industrial Development Board.
-- Agreed to pay Bryant Hammett & Associates for work involving Gene Clark Tumminello etal. for drainage right-of-way, $258.76; and Rokofee River Park Subdivision, Robert Robbins and Robert Applegate, $373.13.
-- Authorized the secretary-treasurer to sign a Cooperative Endeavor Agreement for the old courthouse air conditioner grant.
-- Approved the payment of $6,546.24 to Davenport, Files & Kelly, L.L.P, for legal services involving the Jury's lawsuit against W.E. Blain & Sons of Natchez.
-- Agreed to pay state election expenses totaling $1,849.99 for the constable and Council on Aging referendum.
-- Voted to pay $4,365 in annual dues to Kisatchie-Delta.
-- Heard a report from Donna Remides, coordinator of the Northeast Delta RC&D. The organization, which units local governing bodies such as police juries and USDA, was formed to promote conservation and strengthen local economics through tourism and recreation.
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