LIVINGSTON — Parish leaders struck a compromise Thursday on the use of surplus road funds, dedicating $250,000 to the Juban Road extension project with three times more to be allocated by the end of the year.
The Parish Council voted unanimously, after little discussion, to dedicate a quarter of the $1 million in surplus sales tax revenue to the Juban project. The remaining $750,000 will go toward more overlay work on the parish’s road priority list.
In late August, Parish President Layton Ricks certified that the $1 million is available.
Councilman Ricky Goff, an ardent supporter of the Juban project, had argued for weeks that the parish should dedicate the full $1 million to extending the road north from Florida Boulevard to Lockhart Road. But several council members, fielding calls from constituents, had balked at tying up all the funding with right-of-way acquisition for a road that exists only on paper.
Goff said Thursday, however, that he feels comfortable dividing the surplus with the overlay program because Ricks had agreed to allocate more money to Juban in the administration’s proposals for the amended 2015 and 2016 budgets.
The agreement — for another $250,000 in the 2015 budget and $500,000 in 2016 — will go before the council during the budgeting process later this year.
Goff said the combined $1 million “should come pretty close” to covering the land acquisition costs for extending Juban Road, but officials won’t be certain until the appraisal process is complete.
“I think we got the best of all worlds, to be quite honest with you,” Goff said of the compromise.
The $750,000 injection into the parish’s ongoing $4.5 million road overlay program will be divided among roads already on the council’s priority road list. Which roads will receive the extra funds will depend largely on where the contractor’s equipment is already located or can be easily remobilized, in order to make the most efficient use of the funds, Ricks said. Those decisions will be made primarily by road engineer Gasper Chifici, of Burk-Kleinpeter Inc., and Public Works Director Sam Digirolamo, Ricks said.
One road already slated to receive more funding is Hammack Road, Ricks said. The road, which connects La. 447 and La. 16 north of Port Vincent, was originally scheduled to have all but about 100 feet paved this year. Because of the extra funds, the road will be completed this year.
“And because the equipment was already there, it cost very little extra,” Ricks said.
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