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LC Council holds special meeting to consider emergency drainage funding

Updated: Jun. 8, 2021 at 11:05 PM CDT
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Lake Charles, LA (KPLC) - It was standing room only as Lake Charles leaders talked about drainage Tuesday night. Lake Charles Mayor Nic Hunter announced the meeting to consider emergency drainage funding measures.

Since Monday, May 17, there’s been an outcry from citizens whose homes flooded after a historic downpour of rain. So, it’s no surprised City Council Chambers was full, and some waited in the hall for the special meeting.

Citizens want something done now.

“These things have been going on for years, years. And it’s time we work together to get this done,” Mary Shaddock Jones said.

She says it needs to be fixed for those who plan to stay.

“How many of you have heard if there’s another hurricane, another flood, ‘I’m leaving?’ I’m not leaving Lake Charles, I’m dying here. But I want this fixed, and I want to help,” said Jones.

Mayor Nic Hunter explained the urgency of the situation requires emergency remedies.

“We’ve got to act now. The situation is urgent. And so this evening you’ll be considering three items,” Hunter said.

First, a resolution to hire a program manager to identify and prioritize multiple projects to improve drainage.

“To oversee immediate emergency drainage work within the City of Lake Charles. We need a qualified expert,” Hunter said.

Second, to take the first step toward borrowing up to $20 million to finance drainage improvements. Additional approvals will be needed down the road. And third, to introduce an ordinance to amend the budget to add an additional $3 million to drainage funds this year. And Hunter asks the East side Gravity Drainage Board and Calcasieu Parish Police Jury to do the same if federal funds don’t come soon.

“If they don’t get traction soon, I would ask that they either dip into their reserve funds or go borrow money to expedite this process on their end and then seek reimbursement,” Hunter said.

Both resolutions were approved unanimously by the City Council, as was introduction of the budget amendment to add $3 million for drainage this year. The budget amendment comes up for a vote June 16 at the regular meeting.

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