Parish Council considering new Reservoir Commission members

Published 8:34 am Wednesday, March 11, 2015

During the public participation segment of the Washington Parish Council meeting Monday night, Oak Grove Community residents again voiced their concern over the proposed site of the Parish Reservoir Project.

Washington Parish Council Chairman Michael Fussell said council members recently received letters from the Governor’s Office requesting names of individuals they would like to nominate to sit on the Commission. The Reservoir Commissioners’ terms are expired, but they remain seated until Gov. Bobby Jindal appoints new members.

“I expect each and every one of you to use extreme caution for whom you nominate for the Parish Reservoir Project, if it is indeed permitted,” Jalon Pittman Beech said. “I don’t trust the Reservoir Commission. Maybe it was intended to be a good thing, but it’s not a good thing.”

Beech said the Reservoir Commission has used false statements in its tactics to get what it wants.

“I would question why a nominee would want to be a part of the Reservoir Commission,” Beech said. “The stated purpose of the Reservoir Commission was to see if one was needed in the parish. They’ve been spitting out propaganda that one is needed. I don’t see how we can enhance our natural beauty without blocking roads and flooding cemeteries.”

Council Attorney Wayne Kuhn told the council the list of nominees it submits to the governor is not set in stone.

“You’re not appointing anyone,” Kuhn said. “You’re strictly recommending anyone from a list for the governor to choose from.”

Phillipp Bedwell asked if the governor has the authority to stray from the list of nominations and tap someone else entirely.

“I would ask the council to take a proactive stance in making sure the governor doesn’t go outside of that list,” Bedwell said.

In other business, Parish President Richard Thomas proclaimed March 16 as Realtor Appreciation Day. Melissa O’Donnell of the Metropolitan Association of Realtors accepted the proclamation. She is the Northshore director of governmental affairs for the association and is based in Mandeville.

“I thank the parish president, the council and staff for doing this for us,” O’Donnell said. “If there is ever something we can do for you guys, feel free to contact us.”

Council members adopted an ordinance that prohibited unmuffled compression brakes, or Jake brakes, on Louisiana Highway 60.

The council adopted a resolution to accept liability, maintain and repair 26 roads that are proposed to be rebuilt under the Washington Parish Drainage Culvert Improvement Program funded by FEMA.

The 26 roads include Airport Road, Bill Knight Road, Bogue Chitto-Carter Road, Bonner Creek Road, Cleve Kennedy, Ernest Crain, Hagedorn Road, Jim Edwards, Jim Stuart, Keaton Road, Lawrence Creek, Mack Magee, Melton Magee, Military Road, Mitch Road, Monroe Creek, Mount Pleasant, Old Columbia, Old Lake South, Otis Erwin Road, Perry Erwin Road, River Road, Seal, Sunny Hill, T.C. Brumfield and Wayne Young Road.

The council declared eight pieces of parish property as surplus and removed them from inventory. Equipment included a 1980 International, a 2001 Dodge truck, a 1973 Hyster roller and Ferguson roller, two 1982 Ferguson Iron Wheel Packers, a 1987 trailer and a 1992 GMC pickup truck.

Thomas said work crews picked up 201 bags of trash from roadways over the last two weeks.

“We got the right-of-ways cleaned up, but now we can see litter real well,” Thomas said. “It’s not only on the roads, but the state highways as well. It’s just a terrible situation.”

Thomas said destruction of parish road signs is also a problem.

“In one week, we’ve replaced 34 road signs. We need the public to report these people who are doing these things,” Thomas said. “Ambulances can’t see these road signs, so it’s a very big safety hazard. We had six buckshot holes in one sign. That’s pathetic for this parish.”