PLAQUEMINES PARISH, LA (WVUE) - Frustration over high grass along levees and highways in Plaquemines Parish boiled over at a packed council meeting.
The grass in some areas is several feet high, and many don't understand why it's gotten to this point.
In some areas the grass is 2 to 3 feet high. There are concerns about flooding, concerns about the high grass causing an accident and concerns about the environment it creates.
Council members began asking the administration why the situation is so bad throughout the parish. The administration said it's currently in negotiations with the state to cut grass along state highways. The contract ended June 30.
The parish president said while the negotiations with the DOTD continue, grass is not being cut along those highways. President Amos Cormier said because of a manpower shortage, the maintenance department has had a very tough time maintaining the grass along levees and ditches.
Councilmembers disagreed with Cormier, saying there are 31 employees in the department. That's down from 44 last year.
The discussion at times became heated.
"When I sit up here there is something that needs to be done, but I'm not sitting up here as a businessman I'm sitting up here is a public servant, so when the grass is so high on a state highway whether it's 406, 39 or 23, if it's a safety concern I could care less about how much it's costing us," said Councilman Beau Black.
"I am in negotiations with the state to try to obtain more money. As a businessman, I want to enter into a good contract. The parish does have a duty though to cut the levees, and we had several washouts from tropical storm Cindy where were using the little manpower we have left from the 2017 budget to fix those levees and keep those levees cut," Cormier said.
Some of the solutions offered up included getting help from Sheriff's Office inmates. Another idea was having someone from the private sector do the work.