Lincoln Parish Police Jury Adopts Grambling as Charity Case for Culvert Work

PhotobucketCulvert work at St. Luke’s Chapel, Grambling, LA

The Lincoln Parish Police Jury installed a double culvert and cover in a drainage ditch located inside the city limits of Grambling. The culvert work was done at Saint Luke’s Chapel, 538 South Main Street.

As an independent political body, the City of Grambling is responsible for maintaining its own streets and drainage. The Police Jury can by law do work for other political entities, but it is supposed to be voted upon by the appropriate Jury Committee and full jury in a public meeting. A cooperative endeavor agreement must also be negotiated.

The City of Grambling’s fiscal woes are well known and extensively detailed in their latest audit. It is logical to assume that Grambling has little or no money available to do work such as this

The public was not aware of this work and would not have known about it except that two ministers from the Chapel came to the Police Jury meeting two weeks ago to publicly thank the jury for the work.

If the culvert work was done on the property of the Chapel, then additional issues arise. The Legislative Auditor deals with this issue often – there is this recent example with the DeSoto Parish Police Jury.

According to the Louisiana Attorney General (A.G.) (Opinion Number 05-0153), the police jury can install culverts in public right-of-ways for the benefit of private landowners; however, among other things, there must be a benefit to the public, a cooperative endeavor with the
landowner, and reimbursement of its costs. The A.G. generally uses a three-prong test to determine whether a transaction (e.g., culvert installation) is lawful:
1. There must be a public purpose for expending funds.
2. The transaction must be looked at as a whole, and cannot appear gratuitous on its face.
3. The public entity must have an expectation of receiving something of value when expending funds.

If the Lincoln Parish Police Jury has a policy of doing ditch and culvert work for private entities, then any taxpayer or private business has a right to ask, “Where’s my ditch and culvert?”

3 Responses to “Lincoln Parish Police Jury Adopts Grambling as Charity Case for Culvert Work”

  1. Wascator Says:

    I don’t know the specifics of this situation, but in general the PJ can do minor work for a town or the school board at their request and as their workload permits, with the town/school board paying for the materials. Not for private entities, though.

  2. Walter Abbott Says:

    The work for other governmental bodies must be discussed and voted upon in an open meeting. This work was not on the agenda of any meeting since the June 9 meeting. We have been at every Jury meeting since.

    We would not have been aware of it had not the ministers from the Church come to the 9/8 meeting to thank the Jurors personally. They didn’t realize they were supposed to keep quiet about it, I suspect.

  3. Lincoln Parish Police Jury Tuesday « Lincoln Parish News Online Says:

    […] Readers of Lincoln Parish News Online (LPNO) will recall last year’s news account of the police jury installing culverts at a Grambling church. Lincoln Parish Police Jury Adopts Grambling as Charity Case for Culvert Work […]

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