LPPJ to request state to upgrade sections of I-20

By T. Scott Boatright

The Lincoln Parish Police Jury’s decision to continue an ambulance/rescue services agreement with the city of Ruston was by no means the only business conducted during Tuesday’s monthly LPPJ meeting.

Other key points came when the LPPJ adopted a resolution to request the Louisiana Department of Transportation to repair the right-hand westbound lanes of Interstate 20 between Grambling and Bienville Parish as well as hearing a report from Department of Homeland Security Director Kip Franklin concerning reimbursement funding from Hurricane Laura, which ripped through parts of the parish in August of 2020.

“Lincoln Parish has now received $894,015 for Hurricane Laura, which is a 90/10% split,” Franklin said.

That Hazard Mitigation funding came in three separate payouts:

  • First Allocation – $380,210.00, awarded December 2, 2020

  • Second Allocation – $389,427.00, awarded August 9, 2021 

  • Third Allocation – $124,378.00, awarded September 16, 2022  

The 90% Total Federal Share came to that $894,015 total while the local share of payouts came to 10% of the $993,350 Total Project Cost, amounting to $99,335.  

“In many states they keep the right lane of interstates in good shape because slower traffic is encouraged to use those lanes,” LPPJ juror Skip Russell said before making the motion to request the DOTD repairs on I-20. “In our case, that right lane is in terrible shape and what we’re trying to do is get the state of Louisiana’s Highway Department to re-asphalt only the two outside lanes of that section of the interstate.”

LPPJ jurors also approved the Ruston Lincoln Convention and Visitors Bureau 2023 proposed budget.

“That budget again includes the $50,000 Lincoln Parish Park grant and (CVB Director and CEO Amanda Carrier) has suggested, along with (LPPJ juror Matt Pullin) putting together several other grant packages we’ll be sending out soon,” said Parish Administrator Doug Postel.

Carrier pointed out that budget increases were requested for website improvements, meeting and sports marketing, operating expenses (“as the needs of our building are expanding”) and research to enter into a new three-year strategic plan.

Jurors also adopted an ordinance for the sale of adjudicated properties at the intersection of Oakdale Street and West Charlotte Avenue in the Washington Heights subdivision.

“The owners next door will purchase this property in consideration for $1,692.85 as part of the Lot Next Door program,” Postel said.

Also approved were revisions to the parish’s Employee Leave Policy, the reappointment of F.J. Armand to the Greater Ward One Waterworks District for a five-year term and the appointment of Grambling State University Police Chief Rod Demery to the Communications District as GSU’s representative for a three-year term.

Jurors also approved Solid Disposal job descriptions for levels one, two and three and considered the Personnel Payroll Officer selection process that Postel said would be coming up soon.

Also approved was insurance renewal for a premium of $328,000 and a group health insurance increase of 5% for next year.

LPPJ jurors also adopted a resolution to participate in Operation Green Light, a program to light up parish buildings in green to honor U.S. Veterans through Nov. 11 (Veterans Day), as well as a resolution for Off System Bridge Annual Certification.

They also authorized a piggyback purchase for the city of Shreveport off of bids the LPPJ received for purchase of a Freighliner M2-106 Petersen TL3 Boom Hardox Dump Body.

The LPPJ moved to deny a request to assist the city of Grambling with overlaying of Central Avenue until they receive information that the money has not been used for the requested purpose.

“(LPPJ President Richard Durrett, Vice President Milton Melton) and myself met with our jurors from the Grambling area and representatives from over there to suggest that they get together on how they were going to approach the state to get those funds and told them we would go alongside with them to try and get that endorsement,” Postel said. “That’s what the university did and they did get those funds.”

Jurors also tabled a motion to authorize the parish administrator to enter into a contract with Studio Brooks Emory for Design Services for the exterior and grounds of the Lincoln Parish Courthouse.

That tabling came at the request of juror Theresa Wyatt, who said she felt funding for the Ambulance/Rescue services agreement as well as for The Health Hut were totally decided.

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