“March is our deadline to have everything in place so we can start the bid process,” said Hilary Thibodeaux, executive director of the St. Mary Levee District.
“The last piece of the puzzle is the land ownership,” he said in reference to the $5.7 million project under development for the past two years.
“The appraisals are done and being reviewed and (the state Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority is) making offers to the individual landowners to get the land rights agreements in place.”
If landowners do not agree with the offers, the levee district has “quick take” authority, Thibodeaux said.
“Expropriation is one option we have,” he said. “It doesn’t mean that we take their property and not give them fair value. The property has been appraised. The money will be set aside and if (the landowner) wants to contest, they can contest, but the project will move forward…. The landowners will still get that money.”
In other discussion during the district’s monthly meeting the board:
—Passed a resolution of support for CPRA’s 2012 mast plan with the inclusion of the district’s proposed flood control structure on Bayou Chene.
—Awarded a contract to the Shaw Group for engineering services on the Bayou
Chene project. Responses to requests for qualifications from Ben C. Gerwick and Tetra Tech also were considered.
—Approved Commissioner Andrew Mancuso’s recommendation to increase Thibodeaux’s annual salary from $105,000 to $110,000 after completion of the review of the director’s first 90 days on the job.