Oct 14, 2010 7:20 PM by Carolyn Cerda

Coulee Project Vetoed

The $800,000 Anslem Coulee drainage project is put on hold, for now. The project would have provided some relief to residents in Lafayette Parish's District 9, who say the coulee brings problems like mosquitos and flooding.

Councilman William Theriot, who represents the district, added the line item on September 30th, just before the council approved the administration's proposed budget. Wednesday, it was the only item City-Parish President Joey Durel vetoed.

"When you put a project on the books like that, with no funding attached to it, no discussion with anybody it gives unrealistic expectations," said Durel.

He says, because the item was introduced last minute, that indicated to him that it was not a major problem in the district. And, he says Theriot did not properly introduce the item into the budget, without justifying a need for the work, offering a cost estimate or identifying a funding source.

"According to my information, my public works people did not see this as a priority, with all the other drainage projects that have to be done."

But, Theriot says he has been working with public works and local residents for years, putting together what he thought was a proper plan for the project. One resident says she witnessed the planning, and was shocked to hear about the veto.

"I was very upset, very upset, because we all, public works, Mr. Theriot, the neighborhood have been working very hard to get this done," said Yvonne Gary, who lives near the coulee.

Gary says for a decade she has dealt with the problems of poor drainage. "Flooding... water up to my front porch and back porch. It's bad."

The city-parish council could override Durel's veto, with at least 6 of 9 votes at next week's meeting. Gary hopes council members hear her plea.

"I know there's other priorities that need to be done, we just want this recognized. The research has been done with public works and they say it needs to be done, so it needs to be done. That's all there is to it."



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