Terrebonne Parish President Gordy Dove said the parish is fiscally strong thanks to his staff and support from groups like the Terrebonne Levee and Conservation District.
During his Fiscal State of Terrebonne Parish speech Tuesday to members of the South Central Industrial Association, Dove said the parish was able to end 2017 with a $9 million fund balance, recovering from a “spiraling economy.”
After implementing 23 percent cuts in each department last year, “the parish is fiscally strong,” Dove said.
In April, sales tax revenues increased by 4.26 percent, he said.
Since taking office in 2016, Dove’s administration has worked on a number of capital improvement projects, specifically concerning drainage and storm protection.
In the past 11 years, the parish has received over $200 million from the state for various projects.
“We build the Morganza system. Now we have to pump it out,” Dove said.
The pending Chacahoula-Gibson pump station will be the first built outside of the Morganza-to-the-Gulf Levee system.
“It’s a huge undertaking, and a job well done by my staff,” Dove said.
The parish is also working to install three permanent generators at the Houma Power Plant at a cost of $850,000.
Other ongoing projects include the Falgout Canal rehabilitation and floodgate, the Hollywood Road extension project, the Mayfield Bridge replacement, the Point-aux-Chenes floodgate and the Houma Canal lock system, Dove said.
The parish is using drones to map the levee system and create an app for emergency operations personnel to monitor the closure of sluice gates during storms. Sluice gates are used in smaller drainage canals to control the flow of water.
“There’s no system in Terrebonne for what to shut off,” Dove said about the gates. “We’re working to solve that problem.”
One of the problem areas lies along Valhi Boulevard, which is part of the Chacahoula Basin, he said. When water rises in that area, it can flood nearby neighborhoods.
Other major projects include the Petit Caillou lock in Chauvin, costing about $9 million. The U.S. Corps of Engineers has issued preliminary permits, and the project is expected to go out for bid in June, Dove said.
The Petit Caillou drainage project will deepen the conveyance channel and add a pump station in Chauvin.
The parish is also continuing work with the state’s Coastal Restoration Protection Agency to improve the barrier island system from Racoon Island to Belle Pass.
“I don’t think a lot of us realize what we have in Gordon Dove,” said Tony Alford, president of the Terrebonne Levee and Conservation District board. “We need six more years to get this stuff done.”