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|Police Jury files suit against loggers over road damage|
The Concordia Parish Police Jury has filed a lawsuit against a Mississippi logging company and its subcontractor for damages to the Haphazard Road.
The suit was filed last week against defendants C&M Pulpwood, Inc. and subcontractor John Quinn and Quinn Logging of Natchez.
Police juror Jimmy Jernigan said he was contacted by a resident on Haphazard last week and told that loggers were "tearing up the road." He said he told a representative of Quinn Logging at the job site that a surety bond was required.
"By the next day they were gone," said Jernigan. He said the company had been logging on private property along Haphazard Road for about two weeks.
Jernigan said the Jury planned to seek an injunction against the loggers to keep its equipment off the road until the surety bond was posted but before it could be done the company had moved out, leaving behind some cut logs.
"Most of the damage is on the lower end of the road," said Jernigan. "I was down there a month ago and the road was in good shape. We just hardsurfaced it."
He said the four-mile stretch of road was recently paved as part of the Phase 2 hardsurfacing program.
At Monday's meeting, the Jury approved a motion by Jernigan to hold a public hearing to up the surety bond fees for trucking and equipment companies who operate on parish roads.
Presently, the parish's road superintendent and parish president are authorized to require contractors who "are about to damage parish roads" to execute an indemnity agreement "in favor of the parish" and post cash or a surety bond minimum cash bond of $10,000 for the first mile and $5,000 for every mile thereafter.
Jernigan's motion was to increase that bond amount to $25,000 for the first mile and $15,000 for each mile thereafter.
Jury President Melvin Ferrington said the Jury will also consider upping penalties for violation of the Jury ordinance, which currently includes a $1,000 fine and jail time of not more than six months. He said that after learning of the damage to the road Sheriff Randy Maxwell and Dist. Atty. Brad Burget were consulted.
The lawsuit says that damages caused by the defendants included cracks and potholes from heavy equipment and vehicles used in the logging operation.
In other business, the Jury:
-- Agreed to seek state DOTD assistance for drainage improvements on Tolliver Road.
-- After a public hearing, approved an ordinance to prohibit parking on the shoulders of Moose Lodge road.
-- Named Vernon Stevens to the Workforce Investment Board.
-- Voted to pay Bryant Hammett & Associates $18.75 for the Hal Garner right-of-way work and $2,238.75 for off-system bridge inspections.
-- Approved an occupational license for John William Cowan, Shadow Works, L.L.C, 3215 Hwy. 566, Ferriday.
-- Okayed transfers of $48,000 from the Sales Tax Fund to the Solid Waste Fund and $50,000 from the Sales Tax Fund to the Highway Maintenance Fund.
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