Sales tax-funded road work begins in March


MORGAN CITY — In the next month, residents here will begin to see the work they’ve waited for since November.

Street work will begin Monday on Sixth and Second streets, Ditch Avenue and on portions of Union and Third streets.

Voters approved a 0.3 percent sales tax Nov. 19 to fix main thoroughfares throughout the city that are in dire need of repair.

Morgan City Mayor Tim Matte explained the five phases of the project currently planned during Tuesday’s meeting of the mayor and council.

This project, Phase I, consists of overlaying those streets. The cost of the project is $680,000 and will be handled by contractor Huey Stockstill of Houma.

Phase II is the replacement of concrete sections of Greenwood Street between Victor II and David Drive, as well as David Drive, Veterans Boulevard, Youngs Road and Clothilde Street.

This project is scheduled to begin in mid-March at a cost of $551,334.90 by Southern Constructors of New Iberia.

In Phase III, which is early in its engineering phase, is to reconstruct the subsurface of both sides of Victor II between Greenwood and the first driveway at Courtesy Toyota. In addition, overlay and patching of the area is planned.

T. Baker Smith of Houma is handling the engineering for the project at a cost of $68,050. A report should be received in approximately 60 days.

Phase IV, for which bids also should be received in 60 days, is the replacement of substructure and overlay of portions of Federal Avenue.

Phase V will utilize the remainder of the $4 million in bond money to replace the remaining bad portions of Victor II as well as repairing some smaller streets. The information learned regarding subsurface issues in Phase III will be utilized in this phase.

“Within the next 30 days, I think you’re going to see a lot of work going on,” Matte told the council.

The council also approved the $4 million in bonds necessary to pay for the work in the short term.

Bond Council Jerry Osborne said the payback interest rate of 2.14 percent offered by Whitney Bank was the lowest he’s seen in his career.

Also, he said the sales tax issue is different than any other in St. Mary Parish because it does not have a reserve fund, typically the amount equivalent to a payment which is used as a nest egg in case of a down time in the economy to make a payment.

Investment interest rates at this time make the reserve fund a losing proposition for the city. However, the sales tax will take in more money annually than the bond repayment schedule calls for, making the reserve fund unnecessary.

In a related issue, the city agreed to a Master Services Agreement with T. Baker Smith under which the city can authorize task orders for projects without having to go out for bid for an engineer. This was done because the city’s favored engineer, Lucien Cutrera, now works for T. Baker Smith, Matte said.

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