Bayou Teche, Chene projects highlight proposed budget

Funds for the Bayou Teche and Bayou Chene flood protection projects highlight the St. Mary Levee District’s proposed 2019 budget.

Levee District Executive Director Tim Matte presented the district’s regular 2019 proposed budget during Thursday’s levee district commission meeting at the parish courthouse.

The 2019 calendar year budget will be up for adoption at December’s meeting. Matte expects the district to get $7.6 million in revenues and spend $6.5 million. Officials anticipate an increase of $1.1 million in the levee district’s 2019 ending fund balance, bringing the total fund balance to about $9 million.

Additionally, the district has a separate capital projects budget, which is based on the sale of $13 million in bonds Tuesday to finance the Bayou Teche Floodgate and Yokeley Levee Extension projects. District commissioners accepted issuance of those bonds during the Thursday meeting.

Officials expect to spend $6.15 million on the Bayou Teche project in 2019, which will be roughly half the cost of the total project construction, Matte said. About $3 million of that expense will be paid for by a statewide flood control grant. The district plans to spend the remaining funds to complete the project in 2020.

The project is meant to prevent potential flooding along Bayou Teche from the Franklin area to Centerville and consists of building a receiving structure, floodgate on Bayou Teche at its junction with Charenton Canal and levees to keep floodwaters from going around the structure.

In conjunction with the Bayou Teche work, the levee district intends to spend $3 million on the Yokeley Levee Extension Project next year. Commissioners approved moving ahead with design of the Yokeley extension project Thursday.

Design of the Bayou Teche project should finish in mid-January, and officials should then be able to go to bid for construction in late February or March.

District officials expect to receive $5 million next year in reimbursement funds from the Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority for design work on the Bayou Chene Flood Control and Diversion Project, which includes installing a permanent floodgate in Amelia to prevent backwater flooding from the Atchafalaya River in the region.

The district will have about $4.7 million in state capital outlay money to spend on a portion of the Bayou Chene project design in 2019, Matte said. Construction alone should cost $80 million.

Leaders hope to break ground on the Bayou Chene project by September 2019 to fall in line with a recently granted state Department of Natural Resources permit extension that will expire then, said Nicole Cutforth of APTIM, the engineering firm in charge of the project.

Funds from the federal Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act will be spent in 2020 when they become available to use on construction of the Bayou Chene project, Cutforth said.

Potential phases for the Bayou Chene work are construction of the floodgate and receiving structure and levees with a weir at the end of Tabor Canal in Terrebonne Parish.

In other business, the commission

—Approved performing an archaeological survey in the amount of $17,000 as required by the Corps of Engineers for the Bayou Teche project.

—Approved hiring Southern Construction at a cost of $65,700 to perform repairs on the flood side of the levee along the Intracoastal Waterway near Cotten Road in the Patterson area.

— Approved an engagement letter for the statewide agreed upon procedures with Darnall, Sikes & Frederick.

—Authorized establishment of new bank accounts and a Louisiana Asset Management Pool account for proceeds of bond issuance.

—Authorized signing of an intergovernmental agreement with the town of Baldwin to transfer rights of ways to the town for the Bayou Choupique project.

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