Maybe Sports Complex Money Should have Been Spent on Water Projects

Some water rates in NELA could go up to help fund multi-million dollar water pipeline project
KNOE-TV8 – Monroe, LA
By Gwendolyn Ducre | Posted: Mon 11:10 PM, Mar 19, 2018

This is the second time in two years the Union-Lincoln Regional Water Supply Initiative has put its water pipeline project on hold.

Ruston Mayor Ronny Walker, who sits on the board, said the project should have been done by now, but money keeps bringing this project back to the drawing board.

“We’re running out of the water. To grow our cities and to grow our parishes and to grow our economic base, we got to have more water,” Walker said.

The pipeline would feed water to Farmerville and Ruston from Lake D’Arbonne. That project is going to cost $100 million, which is money they just don’t have.

Now, the group has an idea where to get the money. They’re talking about getting it from the consumers.

“That’s the easiest way to do it. That way you can bond out the money for 20 years or whatever,” Walker said.

They’re talking about adding a few cents to each water meter that would start a fund.

The Sparta Aquifer commission must approve the water fee.

The urgency of this project is connected to the Sparta Aquifer that pumps out 56 million gallons of water each day to 16 parishes.

“The question I usually ask now is how much water do you need? Because I don’t think we can take it away from our residential customers by taking out the Sparta,” Walker said.

Ruston Sports Complex Sees Massive Cost Increase Over Estimate
Lincoln Parish News Online – 9/22/2107

The just-contracted Ruston Sports Complex that is to be built over the next two years off South Farmerville Street will cost more than double the original estimate that was sold to the voters.

Earlier this month, a $35.2 million contract was approved by the city’s Board of Aldermen to construct the facility.

When the “Moving Ruston Forward” plan was approved by the council in February, 2016, the estimated cost of the facility was said to be $15 million. The plan, along with a 3/4 cent sales tax increase to pay for it, was approved by Ruston voters in an April, 2016 election.

See here the “Moving Ruston Forward” presentation, page 25.

The construction contract does not include the cost of acquiring property for the facility. It is unclear where the money will come from for the additional cost, or what other infrastructure improvements might be left undone.

If there is a crisis and we are “running out of the water,” why are tens of millions of dollars being spent on a sports complex instead of water supply infrastructure?

4 Responses to “Maybe Sports Complex Money Should have Been Spent on Water Projects”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    “It’s for the children!”

  2. Anonymous Says:

    Because this mayor is clueless. He knows nothing about finances nor does he care about Ruston long term. We need Elmore back. Or new blood. But certainly not Walker. He’s destroying our city on all of his pet projects. Bleeding us dry. And then he will abandon ship.

  3. Anonymous Says:

    But we have lots of art murals. And bike trails.

    • Anonymous Says:

      And about to build a brand new Courthouse, Plus add on to the Detention center. Just finished the new sheriff office. What else? I know I’m missing a few!

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