- Associated Press - Tuesday, July 15, 2014

HOUMA, La. (AP) - For the second consecutive year, the Terrebonne Parish Levee District will spend a record-breaking amount of money.

This year’s budget allocates nearly $130 million for projects and comes on the heels of $104 million spending plan during the previous fiscal year.

The Courier reports (https://bit.ly/1siUQik ) 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.

Earlier this summer, U.S. Congress authorized the federal version of Morganza-to-the-Gulf project. This project will basically be a larger version of the work the local Levee District is doing as residents await federal money needed for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to begin work.

The district has been able to fuel this frantic pace of levee building because of a half-cent sales tax approved by voters in December 2012. The 28-year tax for Morganza will raise some $330 million to be repaid over 25 years.

The district’s income comes from a variety of sources, including state infrastructure dollars, federal grants and bond money from the half-cent sales tax, she said.

In fiscal year 2012, the Levee District spent $43 million on Morganza projects. The district must complete spending some $96 million borrowed against the new tax within the next two years.

This bond money is the largest source of spending in the budget, putting the district into “overdrive,” Director Reggie Dupre said.

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Information from: The Courier, https://www.houmatoday.com


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