$30M in unused cash set aside for ‘favored local projects’

Published 6:19 am Thursday, April 21, 2022

By Jim Beam

American Press

Members of the House Appropriations Committee are taking care of government agencies and other organizations back home, thanks to over $30 million in unspent cash from the current budget year.

Those appropriations in years past were often referred to as “pet projects,” but lawmakers didn’t like that description. This year they are being called “favored local projects.”

The largest appropriation in House Bill 592, a supplemental appropriations bill, is $2.5 million to the Livingston Parish School Board for storm repairs, renovations, and equipment.

The legislation could change because HB 592 still has to be debated by the full House and the Senate. Other lawmakers may want to add some projects.

The Baton Rouge Police Department is getting $1.2 million for operating expenses. Appropriations of $1 million each are going to the following agencies:

The LaSalle Cultural Corridor District in Orleans Parish for a planned museum in the event House Bill 895 is enacted. The legislation creates the cultural district as a political subdivision of the state.

The Lafourche Parish School Board to satisfy the obligations for oil and gas royalties.

The Houma Restoration District for operating expenses in the event House Bill 780 is enacted. It deals with historic preservation and economic development in downtown Houma.

The St. John the Baptist Parish Sheriff’s Office for storm repairs, renovations, and equipment.

The St. James ARC in Vacherie for storm repairs, renovations, and equipment. It is a non-profit serving individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Jefferson Parish would receive $900,000 for its fire training center.

The Lafayette Consolidated Government would get $750,000 for road improvements.

The Bayou Cane Fire Protection District in Houma. would get $600,000 for ambulance purchases.

Appropriations of $500,000 each are going to the following:

The Boys and Girls Club in Louisiana Inc. for operating expenses.

Teach for America for operating expenses.

St. John the Baptist Parish for fire and safety equipment and for water and sewerage infrastructure improvements.

The Ascension Parish Sheriff’s Office for storm repairs, renovations, and equipment.

The Louisiana Rural Water Association Inc. for storm repairs and equipment.

The town of Springfield Fire Department for storm repairs,  renovations, and equipment.

The Evangeline Parish Police Jury for debris cleanup.

St. Tammany Parish for restoration expenses associated with the historic lodge at Camp Salmen.

The Beauregard Parish School Board for an oxidation pond at South Beauregard High School.

The DeSoto Parish Police Jury would receive $400,000 for truck inventory scales and upgrades to parish facilities.

The town of Franklinton would get $377,000 for communications equipment and services and $295,500 for recreational equipment.

Appropriations of $350,000 each would go to the following:

Rayville for road improvement and development.

Richland Parish for road improvement and development.

Springhill for storm repairs and renovations to the town hall.

The DeSoto Parish EMS would get $300,000 for a new ambulance.

Appropriations of $250,000 would go to each of the following:

The Capitol Education Foundation for renovations to Capitol High School Auditorium in Baton Rouge.

New Horizons for an affordable housing program. The non-profit  serves 29 parishes in north Louisiana.

To the Kenner Police Department for mobile unit upgrades, desktop computers, and network infrastructure.

To the St. George Fire Protection District No. 2 in Baton Rouge for the Paramedic Sprint Truck Program.

To the Lafayette Convention and Visitors Commission for operating expenses.

A number of other appropriations are in the supplemental bill.