Friday, September 27, 2013
ST. JOHN THE BAPTIST PARISH – St. John the Baptist Parish has been awarded a $1 million FY 2013 Louisiana Community Development Block Grant (LCDBG) through the Louisiana Office of Community Development to fund the operation of the Reserve/Edgard ferry for five months. These funds will assist with ongoing transportation needs for residents throughout the parish resulting from Hurricane Isaac. Although the annual cost to operate the ferry exceeds the grant award amount, Parish officials are considering using Isaac Disaster Recovery funds to pay the difference in costs for the remaining seven months of service. The parish will have no direct financial obligation for the first year of ferry operations, but plans to use the one year pilot program to verify actual costs and expenses for the service. “The process of obtaining grant funds and procuring services is timely and tedious; however, the Office of Community Development and DOTD have provided critical assistance to the Parish to move the process forward,” said Parish President Natalie Robottom.
In addition to securing funding to complete a year of services, parish staff members are working with DOTD to finalize a Request for Proposals (RFP) for a ferry operator, a Cooperative Endeavor Agreement for use of the vessel (ferry) and barges and landowners for use of ferry landings. Once finalized, the RFP will be advertised and an operator will be selected. The process takes time, but St. John is one step closer to resuming ferry services for residents, business owners and industry.