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Government for approval and have not yet been approved and no assurance has yet
been given that the same will be approved ; and
Whereas the flood control act of Congress approved May 15, 1928, imposes the obligation of furnishing rights-of-way on Red River and on the Atchafalaya River on the Federal Government, and said act has been so interpreted by the Attorney General of the United States, and authorizes the Secretary of War to acquire such rights-of-way by purchase or by the institution of condemnation proceedings: Now therefore be it
Resolved by the Board of Commissioners of the Red River, Atchafalaya, and Bayou Boeuf Levee District, That this board is unable to comply with the suggestion of the United States district engineer and to advance the necessary funds or issue additional certificates for the acquisition of said rights-of-way; and that the United States district engineer be advised thereof by forwarding co him a copy of this resolution; and that the Federal Government be, and hereby is, requested to proceed under the power given to it by the flood control act to acquire such rights-of-way by purchase or condemnation, with assurance that this board will lend its full cooperation to the Federal Government in the purchase or condemnation of such rights-of-way.
DATA FURNISHED BY BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS FOR THE RED RIVER, ATCHAFALAYA,
AND BAYOU BOEUF LEVEE DISTRICT
a. Financial condition.
(1) Name of district : Board of commissioners for the Red River, Atchafalaya, and Bayou Boeuf Levee District.
(a) Date of organization, August 11, 1890, pursuint to act 79, of 1890, Louisiana Legislature.
(b) Law and court of organization amended. Act 79, of 1890, or affected by acts 46, of 1892; 62, of 1894; 49, of 1900; 109, of 1904; 107, of 1914; 11, of 1916; 191, of 1918; 141, of 1920; 37, 63, and 74, of 1922; 48, 1928; 11 of 1930 (extra session); and affected by the action of the board of commissioners in exempting cer, ain areas under section 15 of act 79, of 1890.
(c) Officers and addresses: Mr. W'. ('. Hudson, president and commissioner from Rapides Parish; address, Alexandria, Lil. Jr. P. W. La Fleur, commissioner from St. Landry Parish; address, Melville. La. Dr. R. G. Ducote, commissicner from Avoyelles Parish; address, Bordelonville, La. Mr. Sol B. Pressburg, secretary; address, Alexandria, La.
(2) Acres in district : ('leared, 236,000 ; timber, 438,000.
(3) Assessed benefits: An ad valorem of 5 mills on the dollar, 5 percent per acre on all land in the district, and $60 per mile on the main line only of railroads in the district. An additional special forced ad valorem contribution of 14 mill on the dollar was authorized under section 6 of article 16 of the State constitution of 1921, to be levied and applied solely toward compensation for injury and destruction of property appropriated by the district for levee and for levee drainage purposes.
(4) Bonds authorized : $1,600,000.
(a) Dates: $250,000 issue of 5-percent bonds, dated October 1, 1900, issued under au hority of act 49. of 1900 ; $250,000 issue of 5-percent bonds, dated March 1, 1903, issued under authority of act 14, of 1898; $250,000 issue of 5-percent bonds, dated August 2, 1915, issued under authority of act 107, of 1914; $250,000 issue of 5-percent bonds, dated August 1, 1916, issued under authority of act 11, of 1916; $300,000 issue of 5-percent bonds, dated October 1, 1922, issued under authority of act 37, of 192); $100.000 issue of 5-percent honds, dated October 1, 1922, issued under : uthority of act 63, of 1922; $188,000 issue of 5-percent bonds, dated October 1, 1930, issued under authority of act 37, of 1922.
(5) Bonds issued : $1.588,000; certificates of indebtedness issued and outstanding, approximately $610,000.
These certifica es are the direct obligation of the levee (listrict. Due to the drain on the board's finances, no provision has been made to set up a reserve fund from the annual revenues for payment of these certificates. The one fourth of 1 mill on the dollar authorized to be assessed under section 6, article 16, Louisiana constitution of 1921, and pledged to payment of principal and interes on these certificates will yield approximately one third of the amount necessary to pay interest on them.
The sinking fund created by Act 49 of 1900 cannot be used to retire these certificates, as the fund is specially pledged to retirement of the bonds issueil under said act.
(a) Due dates, principal: $10,000 sinking fund, October 1, 1933, 1950, inclusive; $10,000 principal, August 1, 1933, 1945, inclusive; $12,000 principal, October 1, 1933, 1951, inclusive; $4,000 principal, October 1, 1933, 1951, inclusive; $8,000 principal, October 1, 1933, 1951, inclusive; $20,000 principal, October 1, 1952. Principal sinking fund for 1933, $14,000.
(b) Interest rate : 5 percent. (c) Due dates of interest :
March 1, 1933, $6,250 ; September 1, 1933, $6,250. Interest payment is the same through 1953.
April 1, 1933, $6,250; October 1, 1933, $6,250. Interest payment is the same through 1950.
February 2, 1933, $6,250; August 2, 1933, $6,250. Interest payment is the same through 1965.
February 1, 1933, $3,250 ; August 1, 1933, $3,250. Interest payment decreases $500 per year. Last payment 1945.
April 1, 1933, $5,700; October 1, 1933, $5,700. Interest payment decre:ises $690 per year. Last payment 1951.
April 1, 1933, $1,900 ; October 1, 1933, $1,900. Interest payment decreases $200 per year. Last payment 1951.
April 1, 1933, $4,300; October 1, 1933, $4,300. Interest payment decreases $400 per year. Last payment 1952.
Total interest payment for 1932, $67,800.
(6) Bonds paid : (As of Jan. 1, 1933) $232,000. (This does not incluile $70,000 in sinking fund created by Act 49 of 1900).
(7) Bonds delinquent: None.
b. Construction works completed: (1) Date begun: (See statement attached.) (2) Date completed. (See statement attached.)
The expenditures the board will be called upon to make during the year 1933 will be as follows: Payment on bonds--
$34, 000 Sinking fund created by Act 49 of 1900 to retire bonds issued under said act----
10, 000 Interest on bonds.--.
111, 800 Interest at 6 percent on $30,000 of certificates of indebtedness..
1, 800 Interest at 5 percent on $50,000 of certificates of indebtedness
2, 500 Interest at 5 percent on approximately $610,000 of certificates of indebtedness issued for rights-of-way-
30, 500 Running expenses of the board such as commissioners' mileage and
per diem, inspector's salaries, secretary's salary, assessor's commission, etc.-
161, 600 Substracting this amount from the gross revenues of $200,000 leaves the sum of $38,400, with which this board must conduct its business for the year 1933. As can be readily seen, the board cannot hope to meet its running expenses and liquidate the $80,000 in certificates of indebtedness ($30,000 and $50,000).
The $50,000 in certificates of indebtedness referred to is part of the cost of constructing flood gates at Bordelonville in Bayou des Glaises. The total cost of these flood gates to the district was slightly in excess of $238,000. These flood gates were built so as to make possible construction of the Bordelonville West Levee running from the flood gates along the north side of Bayou des Glaises to the Nansura Hills, instead of building the levee from Bordelonville to a point west of Cottonport. This change was made due to the fact that the rights-of-way of the Bordelonville-Cottonport Levee would be very expensive to the United States Government, and there might have been considerable delay in obtaining them.
In addition to the Bordelonville flood gates this board built flood gates at the mouth of Bayou Rapides immeiliately above the city of Alexandria. The cost to this board was approximately the sum of $68,000. This flood gate will form part of the Alexandria West Levee now under construction by the United States Government.
This board was called upon to make large expenditures for high-water rights for 1927, 1930, and 1932 which, with the expense incurred in acquiring rightsof-way, moving buildings and improvements, etc., for United States levee setback, accounts, in a large measure, for the present financial difficulty in which this board finds itself.
Senator OVERTON. I offer in evidence a letter written by the Attorney General of the United States to Senator John H. Overton, of date October 23, 1933:
DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE,
Washington, D.C., Ootober 23, 1933. Hon. JOHN H. OVERTON,
United States Senate, Washington, D.C. MY DEAR SENATOR : On a recent visit to this office you pointed out what ap peared to be an inconsistency between an opinion rendered under date of June 8, 1933, contained in a letter addressed by me to the Secretary of War, and a later opinion under date of September 5, 1933, contained in another letter addressed to the Secretary of War. I have reviewed both of these opinions and, upon further study, they do not seem to be inconsistent.
Referring first to the opinion written under date of June 8, 1933. This had to deal exclusively with the question of payment for the rights-of-way that were adopted as a part of the Jadwin plan of flood control, and in that case it was held that in the absence of donation it was the intent of Congress that the United States should pay for these rights-of-way. The basis of that opinion was that in prior flood projects it had been the policy of Congress to require the communities benefited to furnish the rights-of-way. When the Jadwin plan of control was adopted it was held that in view of the fact that a large amount of moneys had been expended by the States and communities, in this particular plan and project no requirement to furnish the rights-of-way should be placed upon the communities benefited. In other words, the condition precedent that the community should furnish the rights-of-way was eliminated in the act of Congress which adopted the Jadwin plan. Concretely, that opinion only went so far as to hold that if the United States, through the exercise of discretion by the War Department, proceeded to build a levee at a particular place, in the absence of donation, the United States would be required to either purchase or condemn the property.
The second opinion, under date of September 5, was applied specifically to the question whether the United States was bound to pay for the rights-of-way which the city of Alexandria had furnished. The board of commissioners had specifically represented to the United States in this case that if the United States would construct certain levees they, the board of commissioners, would furnish the rights-of-way without cost to the United States. Acting on that representation, the War Department spent a large sum of money and did construct the levees. It appears that the district engineers had determined not to proceed with this work because of the limit of their appropriation. However, on the direct representation of the board of commissioners that the rights-ofway would be furnished without cost, the engineers decided to build these levees. Clearly the city of Alexandria or the board of commissioners is not entitled to be compensated by the United States under these circumstances.
Whether, in view of the purchase of rights-of-way at other places, an injustice has been done is a matter to be decided by other Departments, and naturally involves questions of policy. Insofar as this Department is concerned, the two opinions were based entirely upon questions of law. Respectfully,
HOMER S. CUMMINGS,
Attorney General. Senator OVERTON. I offer in evidence certified copy of section 6 of article XVI of the constitution of the State of Louisiana, adopted June 18, 1921, and presenting the law of the State of Louisiana as to
the amount to be paid for lands used for levee purposes, including rights-of-way.
STATE OF LOUISIANA. I, the undersigned secretary of state of the State of Louisiana, do hereby certify that the annexed and following page contains a true and correct copy of section 6 of article XVI, of the constitution of the State of Louisiana, adopted June 18, 1921, as is shown by comparison with the original on file in this office.
Given under my signature, authenticated with the impress of the great seal of the State of Louisiana, at the city of Baton Rouge, this 2d day of February, A.D. 1934. (SEAL]
E. A. CONWAY,
ARTICLE XVI, SECTION 6, CONSTITUTION OF THE STATE OF LOUISIANA, ADOPTED JUNE
SEC. 6. Lands and improvements thereon hereafter actually used or destroyed for levees or levee drainage purposes shall be paid for at a price not to exceed the assessed value for the preceding year; provided, this shall not apply to batture, nor to property control of which is vested in the State or any subdivision thereof for the purpose of commerce.
If the district has no funds or resources out of which such payment can be made, it may levy on all taxable property situated therein a tax sufficient to pay for said property so taken, not to exceed one fourth of 1 mill on the dollar, to be used solely in the district where collected. This shall not prevent the appropriation of said property before payment.
Senator OVERTON. Mr. Pressburg, you have testified that certificates of indebtedness have been issued by the levee board to the owners of the property on which rights-of-way were obtained.
Are these certificates negotiable, and have a great many of them been negotiated, or are they all in the hands of the original owners?
Mr. PREESBURG. No, sir; quite a few of them have been negotiated.
Senator OVERTON. They have remained obligations of the local levee board?
Mr. PRESSBURG. Yes, sir; they do.
Senator OVERTON. How long do you estimate, as secretary of the levee board, before the certificates will be paid ?
Mr. PRESSBURG. It will be 15 to 20 years before they can be paid, if then.
Senator OVERTON. Before the levee board will be in a financial condition to meet these obligations?
Mr. PRESSBURG. Yes, sir; and by that I mean it would be liquidated over a period of years beginning sometime in the future and extending for that length of time.
Senator OVERTON. Do you mean it might take about 15 or 20 years before they were finally retired?
Mr. PRESSBURG. It would take at least that length of time.
These certificates as issued bear no due date, and are payable as funds may become available.
Senator OVERTON. I think that is all for the present.