Brown amends Capital Outlay bill to include D’ville

DERON TALLEY, EDITOR
A picture of the levee-top as it is now. More will be done to it now that Senator Troy Brown funded the city of Donaldsonville with $780,000.00 to complete it.

One of the advantages of having a senator from your area or a senator that has your area at heart is that you become a priority in getting taken care of. Donaldsonville and the city’s mayor, Leroy Sullivan, can now attest to that after Senator Troy Brown pushed to fund the city $780,000.00 from the Louisiana Capital Outlay Budget, announced last Thursday.

At the end of the 2012 legislative session, Brown implemented a strategy of calling all of the municipalities and parishes in his district. By doing so, he learned that a water well project in West Baton Rouge Parish was completed through a grant, which allowed the funding on that project to be freed up.

“So basically I just moved the funding, that $780,000.00,” Brown said.

He amended the Capital Outlay Bill at the eleventh hour and he said it was the last amendment to that bill, which moved the money to the levee-top project in Donaldsonville. Being that that levee-top and port project was already in the capital outlay as a request, it opened the door for Brown to get all the funding necessary to complete the project now.

Brown, who was sworn into his position last January, recognized the fact that the senators have the last word in those bills. He also admitted his close ties to Donaldsonville influenced his push to get the funding.

“So, that gives us preference to make sure that we prioritize the areas of importance to us,” Brown said, who is from Napoleonville. “History shows where you have your close connections, is where you are going to look the most. By having someone from your area or has close ties to your area it allows us to, by human nature, normally prioritize areas that have been important to us.”

Brown admitted there was opposition to grant the money to Donaldsonville from another legislator who represent West Baton Rouge Parish. But he said after consulting with general administration they were able to supersede her opposition and still get the funding satisfied for Donaldsonville.

The levee-top and port project has been in plans for Donaldsonville since the early 90’s, and the first phase was recently completed about three years ago. With Brown and State Representative Ed Price, the project can move from being dream to reality.

Sullivan said that makes it especially good to know people in high places think about Donaldsonville.

“They (Brown and Price) worked good together as a team,” Sullivan said. “Brown got the money, but price was sort of the mediator trying to get the other representatives on board with the project.”

Sullivan said he knew Brown was doing “what he had to do” to get the project funded for Donaldsonville.

“He really worked through the system and dotted all I’s and crossed all T’s.”

Brown echoed Sullivan in saying it was a great team effort.

“Even though I spear-headed it, it would not have happened if [Sullivan] wasn’t involved and Price wasn’t involved and the same goes with a lot of the other projects that we’re planning.”

At the bond commission meeting, Sullivan said he knew something was going to go wrong.

“You’re talking $780,000.00, something is going to go wrong,” Sullivan said, “it went so smooth. After I asked is that it? Do we have it?”

The answer: yes. The city of Donaldsonville has it.

Being funded for the levee-top project means a lot to Sullivan, he said especially with Brown being a freshman and pushing it through the way he did.

“It speaks volume for him going there and hitting the ground running,” Sullivan said about Brown. “Really having Donaldsonville at heart, that money could have gone anywhere else.”

For Brown, he doesn’t take the glory. His biggest satisfaction is that the people as a whole will get to enjoy the benefits.

“It makes me feel good to be able to help overall in a lot of arenas and a lot of subject matter to all of our municipalities and parishes,” Brown said, now getting his first Capital Outlay project funded.

“We can see how monumental this one is, but I can tell you that this in only a drop in the bucket as far as all of the plans I have in mind for all of my municipalities.”

Brown also talked about the role Carl Capone and the city of Donaldsonville officials who did diligent work in getting the paperwork in to make the process on his end smoother.

“I want to reiterate the importance of the city and municipality doing their part to get those capital outlet requests in,” Brown said. “Capone is the person who works to make sure the paper work gets to the state. We as legislators are helpless when it comes to getting our cities the major funding for projects if the city doesn’t do its part initially.”

For Sullivan it was thanks to Brown, Price and former state representative Roy Quezaire who all teamed to get the “ball rolling” on this project.

“If it wasn’t for Senator Brown’s innovativeness and determination it wouldn’t have become a reality,” Sullivan said. “It’s the truth.”

Sullivan and the city of Donaldsonville next thing is to wait on the letter officially saying the money is for Donaldsonville and then start working on the plans and all to make the improvement to the river front development that is in store become a reality.

With this project, the road project and the blighted property project, the city has its hands full in 2013.

Sullivan added: “We’re trying. We’re working. We want to make sure we have a cleaner city, we have a safer city and that we can attract new business to Donaldsonville.”