LPPJ/Ruston Agreement to Cover Work Already Done

The cooperative endeavor agreement between the City of Ruston and the Lincoln Parish Police Jury pertaining to tornado debris cleanup is for work that has already been done, and not for any new work, it was said at last night’s meeting of the jury’s Public Works Committee.

Jury Administrator Courtney Hall said that in the immediate aftermath of last April’s tornado, the jury dispatched several crews with boom trucks to help open streets and roads within the city limits.

Said Hall, “This agreement that you have here is really a post-event agreement. We actually were in the City of Ruston, on my directive, at their request, like a week or so after the storm.”

He added, “What we need to do in order to be able to capture any costs that we incurred, and that the city incurred – since we’ve gotten the presidential disaster declaration… one thing that they require is a written agreement between any and all entities and private contractors. If you don’t have those, you might be hung out on a limb on trying to get your reimbursements.”

Asked if a retroactive agreement might cause issues with the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA), Hall said that usually they were amenable to such deals, as it wouldn’t make sense to delay emergency work while waiting on paperwork.

Bobby Bennett (District Three) asked about the procedure for payment.

Said Hall, “This particular agreement will allow the police jury, who sent personnel and equipment in to assist the city, to be able to claim that time, manpower, equipment, fuel as costs for reimbursements.”

The committee voted unanimously to adopt the agreement.

The committee also fielded requests from the Village of Choudrant and the Town of Dubach for street repair and drainage work.

Those were also approved.

Perhaps the most important event of last night was the return of District Seven juror Jody Backus, who has been absent for several months. Last fall, he was diagnosed with cancer, and since that time has undergone several rounds of chemotherapy treatment.

Thanking everyone for their prayers and well-wishes, Backus added, “I’d like to thank my Lord and Savior for pulling me through this time. I finished my treatment four weeks ago yesterday – my last chemo – the doctor says I’m clean.”

The Parks, Recreation & Tourism Committee heard from Nadel and Gussman VP Joe Anderson, who was negotiating to buy 600 thousand barrels of surface water from the Lincoln Parish Park lake. That amount of water would lower the lake about four to five feet, if no further rains occur, he said.

The water is for fracking several oil/gas wells the company has drilled.

However, the upside is that the park would receive about $150 thousand, which would be used to make park improvements.

Anderson noted that the company had bought water from the park several times previously, but it had been in the winter and spring, so the lake refilled prior to summer usage.

Even though he had other sources for water, Anderson said he would rather buy from the parish so the money could benefit the public.

The committee unanimously approved the sale.

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