BATON ROUGE – With efficient swiftness, the House Ways and Means Committee has amended the capital outlay plan for the next fiscal year, otherwise known as House Bill 2 and arguably the session’s second most important bill, which authorizes funding for brick and mortar projects throughout the state.
In addition to shifting funding to and from Priority 1, Priority 2 and Priority 5 levels, committee chairman Neil Abramson, D-New Orleans, said Tuesday some 22 more projects have been added to his bill, impacting representing government entities from Shreveport to New Orleans.
In Webster Parish, sewerage system improvements in Cotton Valley were added requesting $1.26 million in Priority 1 funding.
Other projects in Webster Parish include:
Minden requesting $145,100 in Priority 1 funds and $686,300 in Priority 5 funds for a potable water ground storage tank
Cullen requesting $80,000 in Priority 5 funds for potable water and distribution improvements
Doyline requesting $45,000 in Priority 1 funds and $370,000 in priority funds
Webster Parish Police Jury requesting $205,600 in Priority 1 funds for courthouse HVAC renovations
Sibley requesting $303,800 in Priority 1 funds for wastewater treatment facilities improvements
Horseshoe Water System for $15,900 in Priority 1 funds for planning and construction.
HB2 authorizes projects which are funded by state and local bonding. He said the total difference in cash lines of credit is just over $9 million in real dollars.
Though transportation, major repairs and remodels to state-owned buildings were a high priority reflected in the list, Abramson said his No. 1 priority are existing projects that are underway.
Abramson said his collective amendments do not affect projects that were in the bill. However, he did note that for several lump sum projects, such as state building maintenance, money is not always expanded and it could be “freed up for other things that are ready to go.”
“This is a work in progress. This is a starting point,” Abramson said. “This is nowhere close to what I believe will be an ending point.”