Iberia Parish: First time govt’s split cost since 2000

It's been over a dozen years since the Iberia Parish Council and the city of New Iberia split the cost to fix a road—until Wednesday when the parish council voted 13 to one to fix Daspit Rd.

All of the roads in the city are looked at based on a grade between zero and 100, with zero being the worst and 100 being the best. The rating is combined with an average daily traffic rate or ATD to dictate which roads receive funding. Daspit Rd., with a grade of 65 and an ATD of over 5,000 did not receive any funding this year, until the parish council's vote and a vote from the city council earlier this month.

“They [the parish council] voted to contribute $185,000 to my total $370,000 cost to repair and fix Daspit Rd.,” says City Councilwoman Natalie Robin.  
According to the standards of the engineering firm, hired by the city to inspect the city's roads, a grade of 65 means Daspit Rd. needs only “heavy patching and overlay.” But, Robin points to the road's high ATD.

The city only has $2 million set aside for roads in 2014, so Robin says there will probably be cuts.

“We probably will have to drop another road, but we'll have to prioritize it and the council will have to look at all the roads. They're all graded, so it will go as far as grade and traffic volume,” says Robin.

For now, Robin says, she's just savoring the moment.

“I'm very excited. I'm thrilled that the vote came back so positive and I'm looking forward to the project being done. I hope that residents will see city and parish government working together for a positive outcome,” says Robin.

The parish council also voted Wednesday to hold a public hearing on a possible parish-wide sales tax for road construction and improvements. They do not know how much the sales tax would be or when they will be holding the public hearing for it.

One of the council members to vote against a public hearing was Ricky Gonsoulin who had this to say:

“I'm adamantly against taxing the people any more than they are now. I think we need to work from within, maybe do some budget cuts and find the money to show the people we can do a road program without asking for more funds,” says Gonsoulin.

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