The news for members of the Alexandria-area's delegation at Thursday's Louisiana Recovery Authority board meeting wasn't what they hoped to hear, but the authority still could be a source of funding to fix local levees.They went panhandling and got nothing. Yeah, they've got a plan. Sit on their can for years, enjoy the expense accounts and cry for help when the time comes.
"It's not out of the window," said Norman Budd, president of the Red River, Atchafalaya and Bayou Boeuf Levee District board, which oversees the levees in Rapides, Avoyelles and St. Landry parishes.
"But it's a little farther away than it was (Thursday). I think there's still an opportunity to get the funding from LRA. They have to go through a different section, but they ought to be able to give it to us."
Authority staff and board members said that rules for using federal Community Development Block Grants do not allow using those funds to help repair the Red River levees.Translation: you ain't gettin' no money but we're enjoying the free lunches and afterhours entertainment.
Roy said he was not surprised by what was learned, and he still thinks help will be forthcoming.
"I believe the LRA, one way or another, will be part of our solution, even if it is finding the funding elsewhere, because the staff and authority board members do their jobs quite well," Roy said.Everybody remember what Jacques said. He will deny it before the cock crows three times.
Billings said the Police Jury has about $16 million set aside for major drainage projects, but said he was not sure if that money can be used for levee repairs.
Using those funds is one of several options being considered locally to fund repair work by the Levee District.We have the money but they went down to ask for money? Lord help us.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has estimated repairs to the Red River levees will cost $4.3 million. Roy said it would be closer to $10 million to repair the levees and get them recertified.
"I'm not going to tell you that these things have not been considered," Billings said. "I think all of us are looking at everything we can to try to solve the problem."Everything? Uh, what about using the $16 million you are sitting on?
Roy said the city and parish discussed joint-funding solutions, which include the possibility of tapping money the city borrowed to fund its Specially Planned Activity Redevelopment Corridors infrastructure initiative.Beats relocating the bus station or building gated apartments in a flood zone.
"As I testified (Thursday)," Roy said, "I do not consider the city the funder of last resort as evidenced by our commitment Tuesday at council, but I certainly do not consider the city the funder of first resort, which is most assuredly the federal government. Instead, at most, I believe our place could be as a gap funder."What did Jacques say? What with the testifying talk? We know peep are intimidated by fancy talk, but seriously, this is stupid.
Roy said it would be "premature" to release the alliance's complete plan, but he said the local governmental entities are "trying to complete a model approach, one that can be used again by others."Jacques said he hopes voters in the 5th congressional district will vote for him if the polling data says he should run.
"While there is much work to do, and alarm should remain on orange, we are not at red alert yet," Roy said. "The alliance team is working a definite plan, and we have the attention of the very top of state government. Our goals were to educate those with the capacity to help and seek funding sources."That's our self-centered mayor. He is always educating everyone else. What a arrogant jerk.
Budd said this situation is a money grab by FEMA in hopes of collecting more insurance premiums, in part to compensate for losses incurred by Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and other hurricanes.We'd like to see Budd's expense reports for the last 10 years. That was a money grab.
Budd said he and several of his associates on levee boards across the state will be in Washington, D.C., from March 22-24 to meet with U.S. Sens. Mary Landrieu and David Vitter and U.S. Rep. Rodney Alexander.Hookers of D.C., be ready!