Livingston councilmen debate Juban Road project

Livingston Parish Council members argued Thursday over the direction of a proposed Juban Road extension project that has been bandied about for years.

Parish President Layton Ricks had put an item on the agenda asking the council to dedicate $300,000 to the Juban extension project, as well as a proposed Cook Road extension project. He also was asking the council to dedicate $3.7 million in surplus funds for the parish’s 2013 road overlay project.

Councilman Ricky Goff questioned whether the council could obligate the funds without budgeting the projects first. Ricks said he would come back later with a formal budget amendment or ordinance for the projects.

Goff began talking about how the parish should move forward with the Juban project, and not Cook Road, because of limited funds and the importance of the Juban project to the parish.

Councilwoman Joan Landry then accused Goff of clandestinely trying to draw support for the Juban project.

Landry said Goff, as well as council members Marshall Harris and Cindy Wale, met with property owners in the proposed Juban extension area about asking the parish’s legislative delegation to sign a letter of support for the project to send to the state.

Landry said that meeting came before the council approved a resolution Aug. 22 asking the state Department of Transportation and Development for support of the Juban extension project.

Goff said the resolution was only meant to ask the parish’s state lawmakers to support the council by asking the Governor’s Office about looking at extending Juban Road when it is eventually widened.

Harris and Wale both said they went to the meeting to discuss alleviating the parish’s traffic issues.

Other issues coming up during the meeting included:

CHARTER COMMISSION: The council voted to temporarily appoint several of its own members to a commission that will examine changing the parish’s home rule charter.

Parish leaders have spoken about addressing what they call “gray areas” in the charter to clear up the parish president’s and council’s authorities.

Several members said they had not found appointments yet for the commission. Harris then moved to have those members of the council sit on the commission until they found their representatives. That motion passed. The council also voted to give Ricks a member on that commission.

Ricks had asked the council in the past to be allowed two representatives on the commission.