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“7. This board feels that the floodway as designed, having an approximate width of 50,000 feet, is wider than necessary to provide for the maximum amount required to be passed through it during a superflood and should be materially reduced ; as in the present plant there is too large an area of land taken from the various parishes affected, there being 418,570 acres taken into the floodway in the Fifth Louisiana Levee District out of a total acreage of 1,400,000.
“8. It is further believed by this board that because of large benefits derived by the States of Mississippi and Arkansas, through the recommendations of General Markham in locating a floodway in the State of Louisiana, that a fair payment of property, improvements and other equitable adjustments should be made so as to make the construction of the floodway less onerous upon the people affected.
“ 9. This board feels that there are other minor modifications that it will present to General Markham and the Flood Control Committee at a later date."
RESOLUTION ADOPTED BY FIFTH DISTRICT LEVEE BOARD, TALLULAH, LA., AT A SPECIAL
MEETING MARCH 15, 1935 On motion of Commissioner Hill, seconded by Commissioner Young, the following resolution was unanimously adopted :
Whereas, the commissioners of this, the Fifth Louisiana Levee District, have received copies of the Chief Engineer's recommendations made to Hon. Riley J. Wilson, Chairman of the Flood Control Committee, under date of February 12, 1935, and have conducted hearings as to the wishes of the people in connection therewith, and have made exhaustive investigation themselves as to the advisability of such a floodway: Therefore, be it
Resolved, That the recommendations made by the Chief of Engineers in his letter transmitting the report on flood-control works in the alluvial valley of the Mississippi River, dated Febuary 12, 1935, to the Chairman of the Flood Control Committee, House of Representatives, Washington, D. C., for proposed work and modifications in the adpoted plan for flood control, will be approved, provided that there are certain modifications and additions incorporated in the bill, the principal modifications of which are as follows:
1. It is the views of this board that one and one-half times the assessed value of the properties within the floodway is not an adequate compensation, in view of the fact that their assessments have been reduced in recent years by reason of the depression and difficulty of the taxpayers to pay their taxes, and we feel that their compensation should be twice the assessment of the year 1934.
2. This board also feels that there should be some provision for taking care, in whole or in part, of that portion of the bonded indebtedness throughout the parishes affected by the floodway, which would rest upon the lands actually in the floodway.
3. This board feels further, that the owners of the lands in the floodway should be compensated as foresaid, not only for the lands, but for the improvements thereon, and that such compensation should include all the lands and improvements within the floodway from its upper end to its lower endl.
4. We feel further that some compensation should be paid the landowners of the parishes in the backwater area because of flood waters which would be placed upon them.
5. We feel further that the floodway construction should not end at the Louisiana & Arkansas Railroad near Wildsville, Concordia Parish, La., but should be continued down to the Black River and thence along the east bank of Black River to Red River, thence south on the east bank of Red River to a point approximately opposite Shaw, where it should then extend east to a connection with the Mississippi River Levee.
6. It is requested that in order to properly take care of intercepted drainage, there be placed in the guide-line levee at Bayou Cocodria, and other places where necessary, flood gates of adequate dimensions to properly take care of drainage.
7. This board feels that the floodway as designed, having an approximate width of 50,000 feet, is wider than necessary to provide for the maximum amount re
quired to be passed through it during a superflood and should be materially reduced; as in the present plan there is too large an area of land taken from the various parishes affected, there being 418,570 acres taken into the floodway in the Fifth Louisiana Levee District out of a total acreage of 1,400,000.
8. It is further believed by this board that because of large benefits derived by the States of Mississippi and Arkansas, through the recommendations of General Markham in locating a floodway in the State of Louisiana, that a fair payment of property, improvements, and other equitable adjustments should be made so as to make the construction of the floodway less onerous upon the people affected.
9. This board feels that there are other minor modifications that it will present to General Markham and the Flood Control Committee at a later date.
I, Eileen Moncrief, secretary of the board of commissioners of the Fifth Louisiana Levee District, do hereby certify that the above is a true, correct, and complete copy of a resolution adopted by the board of commissioners at a special meeting held at its office in Tallulah, La., on March 15, 1935; a quorum being present and voting.
Witness my official signature and seal of said board hereto attached this 16th day of March 1935.
EILEEN MONCRIEF, Secretary. That is the position which the levee board took on the matter.
This resolution says that we will approve the floodway in the event those changes are made. Since that time we have passed another resolution reading as follows:
Whereas, this board adopted a resolution on March 15, 1935, asking for certain changes and modifications in the proposed Eudora spillway: Therefore, be it
Resolved, That unless we can secure such changes and modifications as specified in said resolution, the board will oppose the said spillway as recommended by the Chief of Engineers.
That is the attitude the levee board has taken, which I wanted to explain to the committee. I will be glad to answer any questions you may desire to ask me.
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Kell, as I understand the opposition of your levee board is relative to compensation. Is that the recommendation suggested by the resolution, that you feel that it should be based, in toto, on one and one-half times the assessed value of the property for the year 1934? Is that the position that your board takes, that that is not adequate?
Mr. KELL. Yes, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. As I understand General Markham's explanation, I believe it was that within a parish it would not apply to each particular piece of property, but in toto it would be one and onehalf times the assessed value, and then that would be distributed according to what would be fair, to each property owner. If that were made on that basis, do you not think you could fix the basis which would be fair in handling it in that way?
Mr. KELL. When we passed that resolution we did not understand that they included improvements, and General Markham, as you know, stated that the one and one-half times assessed value included the land and the improvements. If you include the improvements and two times the assessed value I believe it would be fair to them.
The CHAIRMAN. According to his testimony, he included the improvements. For instance, here is a man with cut-over land assessed at a certain amount, and he puts his home and improvements on that cut-over land, and that home and the improvements are taken into consideration as to what shall be paid in. Do you think
if it was handled in that way, on the basis of twice the assessed value, that it would be more satisfactory?
Mr. KELL. My idea is that the provision for two times the assessed value would probably give them money enough to pay one man more and another man, whose land was not so valuable, less.
The CHAIRMAN. The next suggestion of your board is for an extension, which the engineers have testified would be satisfactory but might be delayed a little longer because of the work below. That could be done under the project.
You heard the testimony to the effect that they will have the power and authority to do that, but preferred that it be delayed until the work was done in connection with the greater discharge through the Atchafalaya.
Mr. KELL. Mr. Chairman, the levee board feels that it is its duty to consider every parish in the district and give them the same consideration as the others. That is, in Concordia Parish. I understood that the attitude of the members of the board from that parish was that they did not want the spillway at all unless that was guaranteed.
The CHAIRMAN. Unless it was written into the act, making it definite.
Mr. KELL. Yes.
The CHAIRMAN. And the third recommendation is that the floodway, if approved and constructed, should be 4 miles instead of 10; or did you have
any definite figure in mind?
The CHAIRMAN. If you ever had a superflood, like the 1927 flood, or anything like that—and the testimony that has been given is to the effect that the greatest diversion in 1927 would have been 300,000 feet, or thereabouts—in your judgment would a 4-mile floodway carry that without any destructive effects?
Mr. KELL. Yes, sir. Mr. DEAR. I understood you to say, in regard to the guide levee, that the members of the board from Concordia wanted a very guarantee provided, and, if that was provided, then they would be satisfied with this change.
Mr. KELL. Yes, sir.
Mr. DEAR. Will you elaborate a little bit on that, Mr. Kell? I do not understand that.
Mr. KELL. Concordia, as you know, has been suffering for many, many years, paying taxes, even levee taxes, and a large portion of the parish has no protection whatever, and the extension of this levee would even, in a very moderate flood, protect them from backwater.
Mr. DEAR. You mean the construction of the Point Breeze Levee, closing up the Old River?
Mr. KELL. That is what they want eventually; but I understand they will wait on that proposition. They want a guide levee built down the east bank of the Black River.
Mr. DEAR. They want it extended to what point ?
Mr. KELL. They stated they wanted it about at Shaw, in the resolution, and have it tied into the main-river levee, and put floodgates in there to take care of the drainage when the floodway was not in operation.
Mr. DEAR. As I understand your objections, they were leveled at the price that might be paid for the flowage rights. Are there any other objections on behalf of the board other than that to that modification ?
Mr. KELL. I will say this, that since that resolution was passed I think the opposition to the proposition has increased instead of diminished. Since General Markham has stated that he would not hear of any narrowing of the floodway I think the opposition to it is very, very serious.
Mr. McCLELLAN. There is just one question I want to ask you. You spoke of the attitude of your people in believing that two times the assessed value would be more equitable and more reasonable.
Mr. KELL. Yes, sir.
Mr. McCLELLAN. What is the relationship of the assessed value to the actual market value, generally speaking, of the property in that area?
Mr. KELL. Taking it on the average over the district, I should say it runs somewhere in the neighborhood of 40 percent. I could not tell you what it is in that particular area.
Mr. MOCLELLAN. Your judgment would be that the assessed value of the land they propose to take averages 40 percent of its actual value?
Mr. KELL. Yes, sir.
Mr. MOCLELLAN. With reference to the bonded indebtedness, your people agree to that, that whenever the Government by creating this floodway destroys that part of the protection that they have bonded themselves to provide, that the Government should reimburse them for that as well as for other property rights that are destroyed ?
Mr. KELL. I could not say that we have agreed. I think there is one faction, you might call it, although it is not a faction either; one group of our citizens
Mr. MCCLELLAN. I thought your resolution provided that.
Mr. KELL. That resolution was adopted in the hope that we could get the two proposals together.
Mr. McCLELLAN. Do you still insist on that, and feel that that is right; is that your recommendation now to the committee?
Mr. KELL. Yes, sir; in the event they do not put it through, that is the recommendation.
Mr. Dear. What is the proportion of cultivated, cut-over, and timbered lands in that area?
Mr. KELL. In that floodway?
Mr. KELL. I think it has been figured to be somewhere near about 90 percent of timberland and cut-over land together. Personally, I do not know. I know very little about that back area.
Mr. DEAR. That is the information I had, that about 10 percent of it was cultivated or improved land.
Mr. KELL. That would apply probably to the whole district; but there are some parishes—in East Carroll I think it would be very
much greater; I mean the cultivated lands would be very much greater.
Mr. DEAR. When General Ferguson was there the first time and explained the proposition, was it fairly satisfactory to the people at that time?
Mr. KELL. Mr. Dear, that was rather stunning to the board, to propose to put over a 10-mile spillway. As to the expression of his views, the levee board made no expression.
Mr. DEAR. Since he has been there has it been explained to the people and talked over recently with them? Has the situation been explained to them?
Mr. KELL. Mr. Jacobs explained it at those two hearings very plainly, I think.
Mr. DEAR. What is the cause of the additional opposition that seems to have grown up there recently?
Mr. KELL. I think the people have been reading the press reports since this hearing started. I do not know whether the reports have been entirely correct or not, but they have become almost panicstricken.
Mr. Carlson. Mr. Kell, your organization is set up by the State laws of Louisiana ?
Mr. KELL. Yes, sir.
Mr. CARLSON. If I remember correctly, the resolution you read stated that a floodway narrower than 10 miles was desired, and a width of 4 miles was suggested.
Mr. KELL. They had that in mind.
Mr. CARLSON. You mentioned the matter of assessments. I believe you stated that two times the assessed value would be satisfactory, because of the cost of improvements. Are not the improvements in Louisiana carried on your tax rolls?
Mr. KELL. They are assessed separately. The land is assessed at so much and the improvements at so much.
Mr. Carlson. In other words, if this floodway were reduced to 4 miles in width it would materially reduce the cost of this entire project?
Mr. KELL. Yes, sir. Mr. Chairman, there is one more short statement I would like to make.
The CHAIRMAN. You may proceed.
Mr. KELL. After you sum up all the actions of the levee board, and so forth, it looks like you would find some people who want a modified spillway, but nobody wants a 10-mile spillway.
The CHAIRMAN. In other words, there would be a division of opinion on the modified spillway, but all of them are opposed to a 10-mile spillway?
Mr. KELL. Yes, sir.
Mr. ZIMMERMAN. You heard General Ferguson testify the other day, did you not?
Mr. KELL. Yes, sir.
Mr. ZIMMERMAN. If this spillway were to be reduced to a width of 4 miles, or much narrower than is shown on the map, would that