Police Jury Meeting Notes: May 16, 2018

Posted: May 16, 2018, 4:43 PM

Facing uncertainty of FEMA approval for funds to help repair at least two years worth of flood damage in Bossier Parish, members of the parish police jury will seek financial relief through bonds offered by a state agency.

Jury members voted unanimously last week to apply to the Louisiana Local Government Environmental Facilities and Community Development Authority to request issuing revenue and refunding bonds in an amount not to exceed $50 million.

Parish Administrator Bill Altimus told jury members the purpose of seeking the $50 million is to cover several parish public improvement projects that may not qualify for federal assistance. And, he pointed out, if some projects do qualify the money filters slowly from FEMA to the parish.

“Our consultants have determined that due to recent flood events, the parish has suffered approximately $25 million in damages to parish paved roads, and the rising water table is creating adverse effects on sewer and water lines,” Altimus said.

Altimus said it remains unclear how much, if any, funds will be received from FEMA to assist the parish in the cost of damages to our paved roads.

In addition to damage repair, Altimus said funding from the bonds could be used to target other needs. He said the South Bossier Park on Caplis Sligo Rd. continues to grow, and additional improvements would add to the quality of life the park provides.

Also, a new state law on housing 17-year-old inmates may require the parish to build a new juvenile detention center.

And, Altimus added, there is potential for future expansion of the sewer district, and the parish will need funding for that expansion sooner rather than later to keep abreast of development in this area.

One interesting feature of the bonds, Altimus said, is the money can be used when needed to finance capital projects and refund certain maturities. All Bossier Parish must do is submit an application to the State Bond Commission showing a need that sufficiently warrants the parish to borrow money.

“We can get what we need when we need it, up to $50 million,” Altimus explained.

Bossier Parish can meet payments on the bond obligation with money already in the system, he added. The parish currently pays $3 million a year in debt service for the courthouse renovation, expansion and maximum-security jail complex, that will be paid in full in the near future.

“This three million dollars is money that is already being spent. We will not be taking on a new obligation,” Altimus told jury members. 

Shaun Toups, representing Government Consultants, Inc., said the resolution being presented for adoption requests only approval from the State Bond Commission to move forward with the application for Louisiana Local Government Environmental Facilities and Community Development Authority revenue and refunding bonds. It does not authorize any specific borrowing of funds. 

If approved by the State Bond Commission, the Bossier Parish police jury will make the determination when and what funds are needed, he said. The police jury will prioritize these future projects. 

Police jury members also:

  • Approved, with stipulation, the plat of proposed development of Dogwood South subdivision, Unit 3-B.
  • Declared a six-month moratorium on billboards in the Benton Metropolitan Planning Commission until a July preliminary MPC meeting.
  • Approved proposal from David W. Volentine for appraisal services on parcels under the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program.
  • Approved change for the acceleration lane on U.S. 71 at Sligo Rd. intersection.
  • Approved certificate of substantial completion for acceleration lane on U.S. 71.
  • Authorized payment of certain invoices from Lazenby & Associates, Inc. on the Bossier north/south corridor Swan Lake Rd. interchange.
  • Accepted streets and drainage, sewer main extension and improvements at Redwood Place at Legacy subdivision into parish system for permanent maintenance.

Bossier Parish Administrator Bill Altimus (right) talks bonds with parish bond counsels (from left)  Jennifer Fiore, Jennifer Fiore and John Dunlap of Dunlap, Fiore, LLC.

Bossier Sports Commissions executive Kelly Wells presents a plaque of appreciation to Bossier Parish police jury members (from left) Norman Craig and Bob Brotherton and Commission Chairman Billy Montgomery.