Livingston leaders agree to move forward with road program in 2014

LIVINGSTON, LA (WAFB) - There's hope for the road program in Livingston Parish. A concerned citizen got the parish president and two council members to sit down and talk about how to move forward and fix roads in the parish. Now, both sides say by March 2014, some roads on the parish priority road list should get some work done.

Crumbled, cracked, and beyond regular wear and tear. That is how some people on Chene Blanc Lane have described the look of their road. For years they've been asking the parish to do some repair work there. They've since taken to showing up at council meetings, dressed in yellow shirts, to have their questions answered and concerns heard.

All over Livingston Parish, people who make the drive over patched up roads have been asking one question: Why pay a road tax is the parish isn't fixing the roads.

But it appears things may soon changing.

"Hopefully by March we have a road program," said Councilman Chance Parent.

Layton Ricks, the parish president, says he and the council sat down together and agreed to move forward.

Ricks says a concerned citizen asked that she, parish president Ricks, Chance Parent and Ricky Goff - the two most vocal councilman on the road program issue - sit down and talk out their differences.

The last time the parish president and council met, the council took the road funds out of the budget, meaning there would be no roads fixed in the parish.

"While I was convinced I was right, they were convinced they were right," Ricks said.

Parent says the main issue the council had, was with the way Ricks went about getting a contract with an engineer he had selected. That engineer was to take charge of the road program. Parent says that left the council out of the decision.

Now all agree, the council will be involved in the process.

Ricks will handle taking the proposals from engineers, otherwise known as the RFQ (request for qualifications). Parent says at the January 9, 2014 council meeting, Ricks will give council members the top three engineers for the job. At which time he will also give his recommendation for which engineer should be selected.

The council will then need to vote yes or no on Ricks' recommendation.

"If he follows the process and laws we've been asking for since the beginning, I don't see there being a problem," Parent said.

Both Ricks and Parent hope this shows the public that the council and parish president can work together.

Something Ricks says may not have happened, had it not been for the citizen that got both sides to talk.

"Realistically we'd probably still be at a stalemate," Ricks said.

Once an engineer is selected, Parent says, that person will take the list of 15 to 20 roads that are on the priority list and give the council an estimate on what it will cost to overlay/repair those roads.

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