GREENSBURG — The St. Helena Police Jury halted construction on the Parish Jail Solar Retrofit Project after nobody could say with authority how much it would cost or when it would be finished.

Jamin Butler, an electrician, said during Tuesday’s meeting another seven to 10 days would be needed to finish the project.

Engineer Morgan Watson, who proposed the renewable energy project, told jurors that part of the reason for the delay is “inexperience.”

The jury originally hired eight people in June to work four to six weeks installing the new solar-powered electric and water-heating systems, but none, including Butler, had ever worked on a solar project.

Watson initially proposed paying for the job by using $72,000 in federal stimulus money combined with $141,000 left over from courthouse renovations.

To show that future jobs in solar installation would be well paying, Watson proposed paying an electrician and plumber $50 per hour each and $25 per hour for each of six helpers.

In August, the jury approved Watson’s request to ask the state Department of Natural Resources for a $12,000 grant to get the project finished.

Juror Theodore McCray Jr. asked Watson on Tuesday to tell the jury how much the project would cost and when it would be finished.

“We need to know exactly what it will cost,” he said.

Juror Major Coleman recommended all work stop until specifics on the remaining work and cost are provided to the jury for review.

“I’m talking hard facts,” Coleman said.

Other topics covered during the meeting included:

SPECIAL ELECTION: The Police Jury voted to hold a special election to enable voters to decide whether to continue a Fire Protection District 4 property tax.

If approved by the state, residents of Fire Protection District 4 would vote Nov. 19 whether to pay 22.71 mills for fire protection and emergency medical services.

The millage amount includes a 2.71-mill assessment increase previously approved by the jury.

According to the resolution the jury approved, the renewal would be for 10 years. The tax would generate about $152,000 per year.

Fire Protection District 4 is the parish’s only paid fire department.