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In the News

Consultant to help with ferry grant application

By Cyndi Sellers

The Cameron Parish Police Jury has joined the school Board and the Sheriff in approving Commonwealth LNG’s application for an Industrial Tax Exemption.

Under the rules established by the Governor’s office, the exemption will be for 80% of property taxes owed once the facility goes into production, for a set period of time. In return, the company must meet certain obligations set forth in the application, such as number of permanent jobs.

Commonwealth plans to build an LNG export facility on the west side of the Calcasieu River, just north of the west jetty. The company is in the pre-filing process with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

Jurors approved the hiring of a consultant, TranSystems, to improve the parish’s application for a $16 million federal BUILD grant to build a new Cameron ferry. The first application was rated “recommended,” but to win the award it needs to be “highly recommended,” said Assistant Parish Administrator Darrell Williams. The consultant will cost $44,821.

Road Debate

After a heated debate, jurors agreed to hire an engineering firm to assess several parish roads being considered for overlay and provide a scope of work for contractors to bid on. Jurors had earmarked $2 million for a parishwide project, and each juror was asked to nominate one road in his district.

Cameron-Creole juror Davy Doxey objected to the resulting list. The rough estimate of costs, he said, showed Johnson Bayou with $90,000, Grand Chenier with $104,000, Hackberry with $77,000, Cameron-Creole with $42,000, and Grand Lake with $694,000. Doxey said the money should be split equally between the districts, but one Grand Lake road was a mile long, while other roads were under 1000 feet.

Jury President Joe Dupont offered Doxey the option of choosing two roads, but Doxey said the road project should be delayed until after the fall election. Jurors said any decision on which roads are overlaid will be delayed until the engineer can estimate costs.

No to Food Trucks

With the work starting on the Venture Global LNG facility in Cameron, the subject of allowing food trucks to operate in the parish was again brought up because a restaurant owner in Big Lake had asked about the possibility. The idea was again shot down.

Myles Hebert, head of the permit department, explained that the current parish ordinance only allows food trucks on a temporary basis during a designated fair or festival sponsored by a non-profit organization. He said the state health department requires food trucks to be affiliated with a commissary and to return to that location each night.

On the other hand, catering services may use trucks to deliver meals prepared in a commercial kitchen to an event or job site. This process has been used for the other two LNG projects under construction in the parish, he said. One local business owner said he would prefer to keep the ordinance the way it is.

Kiewit Gets Variance

Kiewit Construction was granted a variance to build a maintenance shop for heavy equipment below flood elevation. Hebert said the project meets the definition of functionally dependent use and also marine facility use, since it will be built at a shore base in Cameron.

In granting the variance, Dupont said, “We are doing things to help Kiewit, and we would like to see them help local people get work. Some on the approved list aren’t getting work.”

Holly Beach resident JoElle Bott asked that the intersection of Teal and Porpoise streets be made a four-way stop. She said through traffic often exceeds the speed limit and endangers children. Jurors agreed to the request.

Bott was later appointed to the board of Beachfront Development District #1, replacing D. J. Fournerat, who resigned.

Cameron Parish Port Director Clair Marceaux announced that proposals are being accepted for an operator for the fisheries facility in Cameron. The deadline is May 6, after which an ad hoc committee of the Port Board will score and rank the proposals, interview the top contenders, and select an operator. Williams said his office is working hard to get all the equipment installed and working at the facility.

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