Bossier Police Jury Wins Appeal with FEMA

Written by on March 19, 2020

After years of denials by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) over claims of damage to paved roads in south Bossier Parish during the historic floods of 2015 and 2016, the parish has won an unprecedented victory on appeal.

Parish Attorney Patrick Jackson announced at Wednesday’s Police Jury meeting that an appeals panel of judges in Washington, D.C. unanimously confirmed that Bossier Parish proved its case, overriding FEMA experts and opening the door to assistance.

“This is unheard of,” Jackson told jury members. “This is the first time that FEMA has ever lost an appeal, ever. No one has ever done what (Parish Engineer) Butch Ford and our appeals team did.”

With the ruling, Bossier Parish will have federal funding to begin work on just over $25 million worth of projects to repair paved roads in south Bossier Parish. A time frame for work on those roads will be established as soon as possible, Ford said.

To emphasize the magnitude of the ruling in favor of Bossier Parish against the federal agency, Jackson turned to a wrestling analogy.

“This is a Hulk Hogan body slam,” Jackson said. “The appeals judges went down the list of reasons FEMA denied our claim point by point and overturned each of them. In all points, they ruled that FEMA did not prove their case.”

Police juror Jack “Bump” Skaggs attended the appeal and said the ruling was something very special.

“I would call this a landmark decision,” he said. “Patrick, Butch and Bill (Altimus) put together a great team that did a marvelous job. The evidence was overwhelming. Butch did a great job in presenting it and Patrick organized a strategy that worked perfectly.”

In other actions Wednesday, police jury members:

  • Approved plat of the proposed development of Ritter Hills subdivision and agreed to allow name change to Rocky Ridge subdivision which will be ratified at next meeting.
  • Scheduled a public hearing on April 15, to consider approval of the application of Brian Crawford, Willis-Knighton Health System, to the Bossier City-Parish Metropolitan Planning Commission for a zoning amendment to change the zoning classification of a certain tract of land being 7.964 acres, more or less, from R-A, Residential Agricultural District, and R-LD, Residential Low Density District, to B-2, Limited Business District, for a Willis-Knighton medical office facility.
  • Scheduled public hearing for April 1 on Parker Acres subdivision, Unit No. 1-A, being a resubdivision of Lot 6, Parker Acres Subdivision, Unit No. 1.
  • Granted two-week extension on condemnation hearing to a mobile home park, Pine Creek Mobile Home Park, owned by Pine Creek-Haughton, LTD, with a physical address of 1000 Acadian Boulevard, Princeton.
  • Accepted a report on Wednesday meeting of the Policy and Procedures Committee.
  • Declared a 2012 Chevy Tahoe, VIN 1GNLC2E04ER150177, as surplus and donated the 2012 Chevy Tahoe to the Red River Parish Police Jury.
  • Adopted a resolution supporting CommCare Corporation, 4680 Old Brownlee Road, Bossier City, allowing them to receive the local benefits of the Enterprise Zone Program.
  • Adopted a resolution by the Bossier Parish Police Jury, on behalf of the Consolidated Waterworks/Sewerage District No. 1 of the Parish of Bossier, stating that the annual Municipal Water Pollution Prevention (MWPP) environmental audit report to maintain permit requirements contained in the Louisiana Pollution Discharge Elimination System, Permit No. LA0126152, for the yearly period of 2019 is complete and that no actions were necessary. A copy of the annual MWPP, along with a Certified copy of the resolution will be on file for examination by the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality at their pleasure.
  • Adopted a resolution authorizing William R. Altimus, Parish Administrator, to execute any and all documents in connection with the Land and Water Conservation Fund grant. Money would be used for parish parks and recreation projects.
  • Approved proposal of David Volentine, MAI, to appraise two (2) parcels for the West Linton Road extension, project No. 2019-132.
  • Accepted streets and drainage in Willow Heights subdivision, Unit No. 2, into the parish road system for permanent maintenance.
  • Accepted the sewer main extension and improvements in Willow Heights subdivision, Unit No. 2, into the Consolidated Waterworks/Sewerage District No. 1 of the Parish of Bossier sewer system for permanent maintenance.
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