OPELOUSAS — The St. Landry Parish Council voted 11-1 Wednesday night to immediately lend the parish Community Action Agency $20,000 in emergency funding to continue providing parish wide services beginning Oct. 1.
Agency director Donald Robinson told the council that funding delays and the possibility of cuts in federal funding are creating the possibility of having the program discontinue services for 15,000 recipients.
Robinson requested the council provide $60,000 per month during the agency’s fiscal year, beginning Oct. 1, until adequate federal funding is restored to the program.
Administrative assistant Jessie Bellard said he didn’t think the council can afford to fund the agency at the level that Robinson requested.
Instead the council acted upon his recommendation which authorizes Bellard to take $20,000 from a general fund contingency account to allow the agency to operate through the start of the fiscal year.
Council member Jay Guidry said parish government advanced the agency $60,000 last year, but only $5,000 of that has been repaid. Guidry was the lone council member voting against the emergency funding.
Robinson said the agency will repay the parish last year’s advance in addition to the funding granted Wednesday.
GAS STORAGE: In another matter, the council voted unanimously to uphold an Assessor’s Office decision to assess the gas storage caverns of Spectra Energy at a rate of 15 percent.
Cheryl Kornick, an attorney representing Spectra, said it is the company’s position that the storage caverns should be assessed at 10 percent.
Parish Assessor Rhyn Duplechain said he felt it is correct to assess the caverns at the higher value because the company is continually expanding the caverns to store gas at the facility east of Port Barre off U.S. 190.
Duplechain said the company’s efforts to remove the natural salt content to store more gas should be considered a property improvement that merit’s the higher rate.