Livingston Council members question procedure in allocating funds

LIVINGSTON PARISH, LA (WAFB) - 470 acres of land on Juban Road continue to sit unused. Signs of a construction project lie in waiting but still no work on the much anticipated Juban Crossing. Livingston Parish President Layton Ricks remains optimistic that will soon change.

"It looks like it's heads up and ready to go," said Ricks.

Ricks adds that developer Stephen Keller told him the project is awaiting final approval from a few banks and the fall 2014 target date for opening some of the stores is still in effect.

"You'll go several weeks that you're not in close contact, but having been on the property today meeting with the developers. You know, we're just fired up again," said Ricks.

Ricks' optimism however, hit a snag at the parish council meeting.

"Can we spend the dollars if they're not in the budget?" asked Councilman Ricky Goff.

Council members like Goff are unwilling to approve general funds for the parish's capital outlay project that would include unlocking $300,000 for work on Cook Road inside Juban Crossing. That mindset drew frustration from Councilwoman Joan Landry.

"He's going to have to wait until December, we're going to have to wait until December to get money for Juban North to spend money on Juban North? What's the process to speed this up? The public's ready, what's the process?" asked Landry.

"I do not want this to become a spectacle, it's not that it's about what we are going to spend our dollars on and when I put my hand on the bible and my daughters were there, it meant something to me," said Goff.

The dispute over procedure required to allocate funds will result in Ricks providing the council with ordinances to consider at the next scheduled council meeting in two weeks. Ricks is still confident residents could begin seeing legitimate construction here on Juban Road by the end of October.

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