Livingston Parish will sue a pair of homeowners who accepted money to elevate their repeatedly flooded home, then failed to pay their cost share after the work was done.
The Parish Council voted unanimously Thursday night, with Councilman Tab Lobell absent, to sue the homeowners for the unpaid sum.
The home, at 20231 Lynda Drive near Springfield, was elevated about 8 feet earlier this year after having flooded repeatedly, said Mark Harrell, the parish's emergency preparedness director.
The homeowners, whom property records identify as Michael and Brenda Recotta, agreed to pay 25 percent of the $163,000 contract price for raising the house and have received insurance money for that purpose but refuse to pay the parish, Harrell said.
Attempts to reach the Recottas for comment Thursday were unsuccessful.
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Harrell said he didn't know whether the home, which now sits a foot above base flood elevation, flooded again during last month's record flood, but he didn't think so.
The dispute pre-dates the August flood.
A certificate of occupancy was issued for the home in June, and Roubion Construction invoiced the Recottas for the final payment in July. After the invoice went unpaid, the contractor filed a lien against the property for $89,576 on Aug. 4. Of that total, the Recottas owe $40,716, according to an invoice filed into the court record. The parish owes the balance.
Harrell said the parish's legal adviser sent several certified letters to the Recottas, trying to settle the matter, but received no response. Phone calls likewise went unreturned, he said.
"If we don't get our funding, we jeopardize losing the whole $4 million grant that work came under because we can't close out the grant," Harrell said. "It could also jeopardize any future hazard mitigation funding we might receive."
The parish may spend more on the lawsuit than what the Recottas owe, Harrell said, but the parish cannot legally cover the cost share for them.
Harrell said the parish has used hazard mitigation funding to help elevate more than 100 homes in recent years. The dispute with the Recottas is the first time the parish has had trouble recovering a homeowner's cost share, he said.
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In another matter, the Parish Council approved an agreement to relocate nine Denham Springs-area voting precincts displaced by last month's flooding to Juban Crossing for the Nov. 8 and and Dec. 10 elections.
The precincts had been housed at Southside Elementary, Southside Junior High and Denham Springs Elementary — three school campuses that remain closed due to extensive flood damage. Those precincts are 24, 24B, 24C, 26, 26A-C and 28A-B.
Under the agreement among the Secretary of State's Office, parish officials and developer Creekstone Companies, Juban Crossing also will serve as a second location for early voting, in addition to the Livingston Parish Registrar of Voters Office.
Six additional precincts displaced by the flooding also will be relocated, Assistant Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin said. Three precincts formerly housed at Springfield High School — 14, 31 and 38 — will move temporarily to Springfield Elementary. Precinct 25, which used Denham Springs City Hall for voting, will relocate to Denham Springs Junior High. Precinct 30 will move from the Albany maintenance building to Albany Middle School, and Precinct 34 will move from French Settlement Town Hall to the village's high school.