Legislators secure $4 million for west bank levee

Residents on the west bank side of St. Charles Parish finally got some funding relief for their much-needed hurricane protection levee.

Representative Gary Smith told the Herald-Guide they were able to secure $4 million for construction of a levee on the west bank side of the parish which currently has no protection from hurricanes and has been footing the bill on their own in an effort to build one. “It is a tremendous victory for St. Charles Parish to be able to bring several million home for hurricane protection,” Smith said.

The money was secured at the recent Louisiana Legislative Session in Baton Rouge that ended on June 29. On top of money for hurricane protection, Smith discussed some of the other victories local representatives were able to help secure for the parish and the state.

“We were able to give teachers the biggest raise we’ve ever been able to give them,” Smith said, referring to an across- the-board pay raise of $2,300 for state teachers. Raises are also in store for police and emergency personnel, Smith said.

They also raised the cutoff point for 100 percent healthcare for a family of four substantially, Smith said.

“We wanted to make sure Louisiana’s children have an opportunity to receive quality health care,” he said. “It’s a must and it’s something we cannot afford to let slip through the cracks.”

Smith said tax cuts were a major issue of the session and they were able to secure a several millions of dollars in tax breaks in a variety of areas for personal and industrial use with the bulk to be sorted out following the session.

“We really tried to help all of the citizens of Louisiana as much as possible,” Smith said. “We also tried to help out local industry so they can remain competitive and expand here.”

It was a busy 60 days for the local representative and certainly a unique experience, he said, but it’s about doing whatever it takes when it comes to representing the people of District 56 and Louisiana because like for so many others, it’s been the only home he’s ever known.

“I love this state, I love this region and I love the district I represent,” Smith said. “I’ll do whatever I can to make this a better place to live.”


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