CLINTON — The East Feliciana Parish Police Jury’s plan to seek bids for a $2 million election year road improvement program fell apart Tuesday over the issue of whether some gravel roads should be in the project.
Jurors were poised to vote on advertising for construction bids until Juror Dwight Hill objected to paving some gravel roads. Hill said jurors had agreed several years ago to overlay all of the parish’s paved roads before paving gravel roads.
“Is it my fault I have one gravel road in my district?” asked Juror Larry Beauchamp, who had included Andrews Road as one of two proposed projects in his district, which includes the town of Clinton.
“He can’t overlay the roads in the town of Clinton,” jury President Dennis Aucoin said.
“We split it up by dollar amount in each district to make it fair to each juror,” Juror Chris Hall said, referring to a committee meeting attended by all jurors where the road list was developed.
Juror Louis Kent said the jury is supposed to operate on the “unit system” in which projects are selected through a parishwide priority system.
“We’re back on the ward system … to pacify certain jurors,” Kent said.
Kent, Hill, Keith Mills and Jason McCray voted to strike gravel roads slated for paving from the list, outvoting Beauchamp, Hall and Sean Smith, who supported the original list. Ed Brooks abstained, and Aucoin votes only to break ties.
Beauchamp left the meeting after the vote, and jurors decided to table the bid advertisements.
Parish Manager J.R. Rouchon said the list will have to be revised because it included other gravel roads slated for paving.
On another matter, jurors voted to sell the 10.7-acre public park at the intersection of Midway Road and La. 412 for $150,000 to the Slaughter Community Charter School.
Charter board member Chrissie O’Quin said the school is trying to arrange financing for a proposed $7 million building for the school, which now operates in temporary buildings on the site through a lease with the jury.
The school has students in grades seven through 11, and O’Quin said the 12th grade will be added in the fall.