CLINTON — The East Feliciana Parish Police Jury voted Tuesday to try a division of labor in hopes of repairing some eight dilapidated bridges.
The jury agreed with Public Works Committee Chairman Jason McCray’s recommendation to split the Public Works Department’s personnel into two crews, following complaints that work is not being done in a timely manner with “everyone scattered about.”
In addition, state inspectors say the parish has eight, and possibly 12, bridges that need immediate work to head off state-ordered closures, the committee’s report says.
“These bridges are about to become a safety hazard to the public,” the report says.
One crew will be responsible for grading roads, spreading gravel on them, cutting grass and patching potholes.
The other crew will be responsible for building and repairing bridges, removing and installing culverts and cleaning ditches.
The bridges that need immediate repair are two on Lawrence Williams Road; one each on Bennett, Beaver Creek, Singletary, Billy Goat and Hurst roads; and one on Bank Street in Clinton.
On another matter, the jury accepted the Executive Committee’s recommendation to appoint Larry Thomas and Larry Hofstad to fill two vacant positions on the Planning and Zoning Commission.
The nine-member commission has one more vacancy with the resignation of Chairman Richard Howell, while member Buddy Foreman is expected to resign Tuesday to take his seat on the Jackson Board of Trustees, the town’s governing body.
Howell quit in May after jury President Louis Kent said the jury would not pay for advertisements and certified letters to subdivision applicants to notify the public and the landowners when hearings are set on subdivision requests.
The commission had not been placing the advertisements or sending the letters before May, but Howell, a lawyer, discovered a section of state law he said required the notifications.
One of the affected landowners objected to his interpretation of the law, however, and Kent said the jury would not follow Howell’s suggestion.
Surveyor Skip Moody, a critic of the commission under Howell’s leadership, complained Tuesday at the jury’s delay in filling the remaining two openings.
Jurors said earlier this month they will wait until consultants submit recommended changes to the subdivision ordinance, but Moody insisted that the jury take action “to get this thing rolling.”
Juror Glen Kent said one reason for withholding the other two appointments is that the jury may reduce the number of commission members under the revised ordinance.
Moody continued questioning Kent’s explanation until the juror replied, “I’m not under cross-examination.”
Moody then said Kent was being deliberately “cagey.”