Covering Louisiana

Jun 18, 2013 12:21 PM by AP(PHOTO COURTESY: MGN ONLINE)

Levee district moving ahead with Morganza work

HOUMA, La. (AP) - The Terrebonne Levee District is gearing up for its busiest year of levee-building yet as its board plans to move ahead with millions of dollars in construction paid for with a new 1/2-cent sales tax.

The Courier reports the board will review its upcoming budget at a meeting noon Wednesday. Terrebonne Levee Director Reggie Dupre said this fiscal year's budget, which extends from July 1 to June 30, will be the biggest in Levee District history.

A majority of this year's budget is devoted to ongoing work on the local Morganza-to-the-Gulf levee project. Morganza is a system of levees and floodgates designed to protect Terrebonne and Lafourche parishes from storm flooding.

The local Morganza effort aims to build 10-foot levees and 18-foot floodgates from Cut Off to Dularge. The Levee District also plans to build levees in Bayou Black and a floodgate and connecting levees in Falgout Canal in Dularge.

In December, voters approved a 1/2-cent sales tax to pay for continued work on the project. The Levee District aims to bond out a portion of revenue from the tax. The 28-year tax for Morganza will raise $330 million for levees. Repayment of the debt will be over 25 years.

Levee District Manager Angela Rains said this year's Morganza budget includes $109 million in construction. That money comes from a variety of sources, including state infrastructure dollars, federal grants and $45 million in bond money from the half-cent sales tax, she said. Last year the Levee District spent $43 million on Morganza.

Dupre said the Levee District is moving forward to try to tackle the areas most in need of protection.

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