Farlough keeping his eyes on drainage

Published 12:00 am Friday, April 7, 2000

ERIK SANZENBACH / L’Observateur / April 7, 2000

LAPLACE – Councilman Cleveland Farlough is keeping an eye on all the major drainage projects in St. John the Baptist Parish.During last week’s parish council meeting, Farlough gave a status report on parish drainage projects.

“I’m not here to cast blame,” Farlough said, “but to make sure that the people know what they voted for.”He was referring to the 1997 millage election in which the voters agreed to an increase in millage to provide $4.5 million in drainage projects.In the plan there were eight major drainage projects, plus the parish government had to come up with a master plan for the entire parish.

The eight projects are divided up into two major projects.

Project No. 1 concerns the west bank of the parish and improves thedrainage of Central Avenue and streets from East Sixth to East 12th, plus parts of Lucy.

“I have been told that these have been completed,” said Farlough. “But I keepgetting complaints from residents of Central Avenue about flooding.”Farlough called on Mitch Labas to explain why there is still flooding. Labas isan engineer with Shread-Kuyrkendall and Associates, the firm that is contracted to the parish to ensure these drainage projects are completed.

Labas told the council that the Central Avenue project is completed, but to do any more would cost more than what was mandated in the millage election.

Farlough wanted to know about Project No. 2 which includes the PersimmonStreet and LaPlace pumping stations and the Reserve relief pumps. He askedLabas what the hold up is on these projects.

“Homewood was a severe case, “Labas replied, ” and it slowed us down.””Wasn’t this job prioritized?” asked Farlough.

“No,” said Labas. “But we are planning it now. We want to do more for thearea.”Labas than told the council that except for one project, none of the construction jobs has gone over budget.

When Farlough asked again why some of these projects had taken so long, Labas answered, “It took several months for the previous administration to sign the contracts.”Farlough also wanted to know why eight drainage projects had expanded to 10 projects.

Labas said that they turned Homewood into a separate project because of the severity of the problem.

“The previous council OKed the project in Garyville to put the culverts under the railroad tracks, ” Labas said, “That brought the number up to 10.”Labas assured the council the drainage master plan was nearing completion and that it had been delayed by the previous administration.

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