Denham Springs plans to widen stretch of River Road

A River Road overlay project will move forward after the Denham Springs City Council approved a contract with the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development on Tuesday.

The $400,000 project will widen River Road between Government and Centerville streets by a foot on each side, Mayor Jimmy Durbin said.

Under the contract, the city will pay 20 percent of construction and utility relocation costs, plus all planning, engineering and right-of-way acquisition costs. The remaining 80 percent will be covered by the federal government.

The Transportation Department already has approved the plans, Durbin said. Bids could go out later this summer, with the project getting underway possibly by year’s end, he said.

Other business coming before the City Council included:

PAWN DATABASE: The council approved a $2,014 contract with LeadsOnline LLC, a national online investigative system for law enforcement, to help the Police Department identify merchandise and people involved in suspected theft.

The city’s pawn shops and secondhand dealers will electronically report items coming through their businesses, enabling the Police Department to search more efficiently for stolen property.

Other agencies in the area, including the Walker Police Department and Livingston Parish Sheriff’s Office, also will use the database, department officials said.

SPEED CAMERAS: City officials are considering the use of new speed cameras that would enable the Police Department to combine officer-operated cameras with semi-automated billing.

The DragonCam cameras, offered through Blue Line Solutions, of Tennessee, would allow officers to download to a computer high-resolution images of vehicles exceeding the speed limit, then manually approve the results before a ticket is issued, Durbin said.

City officials will view a demonstration of the equipment on June 24 before further considering the proposal.

CONVENIENCE FEES: The council approved an ordinance establishing a 2.75 percent convenience fee for utility payments made to the city using credit cards.

The fee is a pass-through charge assessed by Capital One Bank’s Merchant Services Department, which will provide the service, said Laura Mitchell, head of the department.

The bank also is looking at offering online and telephone payment options, Mitchell said.