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|Police jury compiles another wish list|
The rehabilitation of the Sparta Aquifer, a post office in southern Ouachita, an East and West Ouachita comprehensive sewerage plan and several road projects comprise the Ouachita Parish Police Jury's 2010 federal appropriation requests.
Police jurors signed off on their fiscal requests for federal funding in 2010 last week. Those requests will be submitted to U.S. Rep. Rodney Alexander.
Parish engineer Don Harrison said the state's congressional leaders want the police jury's wish list for federal funding in 2010 by the end of February.
Juror Walt Caldwell said the police jury should not expect any money for projects from the state due to the state's anticipated $2 billion budget shortfall for the 2009-10 fiscal year. He said the parish should look to the federal government for money to help with local projects.
"I honestly don't believe we will get any money from the state in the near future," Caldwell said. "They're saying they've got shortfalls with their budget, and considering they are making cuts to the budget."
"Even if they get some money, it will go back to filling the gaps in their budget," he said. "Anyway, projects of this nature would more likely be funded by them (federal government)."
For the 2007-08 fiscal year, federal funding for the Sparta Aquifer's rehabilitation was the police jury's top priority.
Local officials believe West Monroe's Sparta Aquifer Reuse project will help save the sparta, but they say it will not serve as a long-term solution for sustaining a viable water supply in the region.
The reuse project, which is being spearheaded by West Monroe, will allow Graphic Packaging to use wastewater in its production process.
By using wastewater in its production process, Graphics Packaging eventually could be removed from the endangered Sparta Aquifer. The company currently draws 10 million gallons a day from the aquifer.
One of the top road projects on the parish's 2010 wish list is the La. 34-U.S. 165 connector, which would lead to a proposed south Ouachita River Bridge.
This project was one of the parish's top capital outlay requests to the state for the 2009-10 fiscal year. The parish's capital outlay requests were approved in October.
According to Harrison, the La. 34-U.S. 165 connector project is similar to the north loop project, which called for the construction of a corridor to link La. 143 in western Ouachita Parish to U.S. 165 in north Monroe. The north loop project also entails building another Ouachita River bridge in northern Monroe.
A study conducted in 1995 indicated the La. 34-U.S. 165 connector would cost roughly $37 million.
The La. 143-U.S. 165 project is estimated to cost about $244 million.
Other road projects on the parish's wish list include the Interstate 20 Frontage Road in western Ouachita Parish, and the Finks Hideaway-La. 139 connector project.
The proposed post office in southern Monroe is something police jurors Dorth Blade and Pat Moore say has been needed for some time.
In November, the police jury approved a resolution supporting establishing a new post office in southeastern Ouachita Parish.
The U.S. Postal Service must decide whether a new post office is needed in the area.
Blade previously told The Ouachita Citizen he would like to have a post office housed near the intersection of Winnsboro Road and U.S. 165.