NI City Council eyes ordinance to float $12M road repair bond

The New Iberia City Council will vote on an introductory ordinance to approve a road bond at Tuesday’s meeting. 

The New Iberia City Council will begin the process of floating a $12 million bond to go toward a citywide road repair project at Tuesday’s meeting.

If approved, the introductory ordinance will be voted for adoption at a future meeting, with Mayor Freddie DeCourt saying the funding should be available sometime in October.

The project will be the first time New Iberia government has conducted a major road repair project in years, and will target streets in all city districts that require the most immediate attention.

Earlier this year, the council approved contracting with Berard, Habetz & Associates to begin working on a design for a public roads project.

Matt Landry of Berard, Habetz & Associates said at a public meeting in February that the company would promptly begin surveying New Iberia roads to determine which ones required repairs the most.

“We’ll ride all the districts of the city and determine what needs an overlay and what needs reconstruction,” Landry said. “We’re going to take road count and other factors into consideration.”

DeCourt said that work is still ongoing, and he expects to see the findings from Berard in August. Once submitted, the council will be able to look at the list and see what roads from their district could be included in the project.

Road repairs in New Iberia have consistently been cited as one of the most crucial issues facing residents of the city as well as prospective business owners. The city council even approved a resolution earlier this year to give direct repairs to Lewis Street near its intersection with Admiral Doyle Drive due to the state of the road in that area.

Although the project is just beginning, members of the council and DeCourt have discussed in the past distributing the number of roads listed for the $12 million project evenly between each city district, so that improvements will be seen in every part of the city.

However, the first priority will be the safety of drivers, according to some council members.

“I think you’re going to get a priority list on the most unsafe roads,” Mayor Pro Tem Ricky Gonsoulin said earlier this year. “If you start to say you want to give councilmen power on which roads, it becomes a political issue and the mayor agreed that this wouldn’t be a political issue.”

Tuesday’s introductory ordinance will be voted again for adoption at a future council meeting, and will include a public hearing as well.

In other business, Kristie Blanchard from the Iberia Parish Registrar of Voters Office will appear to discuss the reapportionment plan that went into effect July 9, and changes to polling locations for the October election.

The council will also be inspecting eight more blighted properties in the city. The package follows eight properties that were approved to be forwarded in the safety standards process last month.

The meeting takes place at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday at New Iberia City Hall.

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