Livingston Parish Council approves budget without millions of road overlay funds

Ron Breeland and other home owners from the Chinquapin Community were on hand Thursday as Livingston Parish Leaders discussed the 2013 and 2014 budgets.

"Here we are paying tax and they can't get the use of it," said Breeland.

Breeland and other residents urged council members to approve the 2014 budget including about $3.7 million designated for road overlay projects.

"How do we know what we're looking at right here is not another gray area that needs to be addressed but we need our roads fixed right now?" asked one resident.

"Don't you still have the right to say we're going to pave this road here and this road here?" asked another homeowner.

Standing in the way is an ongoing dispute regarding operating procedure between Parish President Layton Ricks and some members of the council. During the meeting Ricks defended his manner of running the parish administration while council members like Chance Parent demanded more transparency from Rick's office.

"This is basically so we can oversee the finances of this parish because we have no clue as to what checks are being cut and yet we're going to sit here and trey to approve a budget without seeing any of the records," said Parent.

"The responsibilities I have will simply not allow me to or require me to give the council an open access, we're separate bodies it's a balance check system," countered Ricks.

The council amended the remainder of the 2013 budget and adopted the 2014 budget but it also zeroed the $3.7 million earmarked for road paving, and that has folks like Breeland feeling they are caught in the middle.

"They've already got what they say is three and a half, seven, seven and a half, eight million dollars and we can't come to an agreement as to what we want to do and it's because of our parish council and president," said Breeland.

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