The New Iberia City Council unanimously approved an introductory ordinance floating a $12.5 million bond for road repairs around the city at Tuesday’s meeting.
The ordinance will come back for final approval at a future meeting, but essentially begins the process for New Iberia’s city government to receive the necessary funds for the city’s first road program in more than a decade.
“I can’t quit smiling because this is going to fix our roads,” Mayor Freddie DeCourt said during the meeting.
Road engineering surveys began earlier this year in February after the council contracted with Berard, Habetz & Associates to find the roads most in need of repair. The company will present their findings to the council sometime in the next few months.
Councilman Dustin Suire asked about the status of the project at the meeting.
“They’re working on it hot and heavy,” DeCourt said. “We talked about August or September where they would be coming to the council for a preliminary and get our input, we’re still on target.”
DeCourt said that once the bonding process is completed, funding from the bond should be available around October, and the council will be able to start the bidding process by January.
“It’s going as fast as it can go,” DeCourt said. “We’ll have the money, go out for bid, y’all will have input and then we’ll hit the go button.
Councilwoman Deedy Johnson-Reid asked what the interest rate for paying the bond back would look like. DeCourt responded by saying that finding the right rate for a payment plan took deliberation from the administration.
“The big decision was how much we stake the next guy,” DeCourt said. “We could flip the financing and pay less now and the people after would be paying a higher note.”
DeCourt said the administration tried to avoid that, and instead will be paying higher for the first 10 years of the plan followed by lesser payment for the next administration.
“Kicking the can down the road is great except we don’t want to strap the people that come after,” Johnson-Reid added.
Councilwoman Brooke Marcotte asked how much say the council will be getting for which roads would be chosen for repairs.
“The engineer’s task is to find the worst roads,” DeCourt said. “Not the political roads or what guy you like. That to me is the clean way to do it, but you all vote on everything and we’ll have a discussion on what we do.”