Tangipahoa council agrees to advertise bids

The Tangipahoa Parish Council voted unanimously Monday to authorize parish President Gordon Burgess to advertise for bids for Phase 17 of the parish’s long-range road overlay program.

Jeff McNeely, the parish’s director of finances, said approximately 27 miles of roadway resurfacing will be completed in this phase of the project. Portions of dozens of parish roads in all 10 council districts are scheduled for overlay once construction begins. Each council member presents Burgess with a list of resurfacing priorities at the end of the fiscal year, and specific projects are chosen from that list.

McNeely said some preparatory work such as culvert and shoulder improvements need to be accomplished before the actual resurfacing can begin. Actual overlay work should begin in July or August, McNeely said.

During Burgess’s 16-year tenure as parish president hundreds of miles of roads have been overlaid under his “pay as you go” policy.

Other council decisions Monday night involved:

LIBRARY TAX UP FOR RENEWAL: The council voted unanimously to place a tax renewal measure that supports the parish’s library system on the Oct. 19 ballot. Voters will be asked to renew a 2.81 mill tax for a period of 10 years. The resolution authorizing the tax election notes that the tax should generate about $1.4 million a year. The funds are designated for maintenance and support of the library system.

VOTING PRECINCTS MOVED: The council approved a resolution to move voting precincts 141, 141A and 143 from the Hammond Area Vocational School on U.S. 190 east of Hammond to the new Hammond Area Recreation District’s Chappapeela Park on Hipark Boulevard, which is just off Airport Road in the same general area. Clerk of Court Julian Dufreche told the council that the vocational school has been housing five precincts serving more than 5,000 voters. Dufreche said that on occasion voters at those precincts have had to wait outside for their turn to vote. He said that moving the precincts to the recently opened Chappapeela Park site will greatly relieve the pressure on the precincts at the vocational school.

CARPENTER’S LANDING CLOSED: The council unanimously approved a resolution that abandons the dedication of a portion of Carpenters Landing Road and returns the property to a group of owners who had allowed the parish to use the road for access to the landing on the Tangipahoa River.

At the last council meeting when the measure was introduced and set for public hearing, the landowners complained that the landing had become the site of fights, drunken parties, drug dealing and acts of vandalism. One resident said that law enforcement agencies had to be called to the site on a frequent basis.

At one time, Carpenter’s Landing was a popular launching spot for canoeists, fishermen, tubers and swimmers, but the concrete ramp leading to the river has largely away and the site has not been maintained by the parish for the past several years. The area will be fenced off and closed to the public.