Highlights from the Parish President’s Report of the St. Martin Parish Council Committee Meeting of May 15, 2018

I have recently received questions about the Parish acquiring/constructing community centers in our rural communities but not in our municipalities. We must be vigilant in reminding our citizens that Parish Government DOES NOT own or operate the Parks located within our municipalities although we sponsor recreational programs therein and provide directors therefor. Moreover, even though St. Martin Parish Government had no legal obligation to do so, we shared the special bond proceeds for parks and recreation expansion/improvements/upgrades with each municipal government, to wit: City of St. Martinville-$975,000; Village of Parks-$350,000; City of Breaux Bridge-$975,000; Town of Henderson-$425,000. Intergovernmental agreements were executed concomitantly with the transfer of the funds, giving each municipality discretion as to how to expend its respective proceeds. The SOLE condition imposed by the Parish was that the money allotted had to be committed before May and used to SUPPLEMENT current budget assignments for parks and recreation. St. Martin Parish Government has full and complete confidence in the mayors and council members of our municipalities to define the needs of their respective jurisdictions and to manage/expend their share of the proceeds to accommodate same. I personally look forward to working with the governments of our cities in the future and tapping into their collective wisdom and experience.

In addressing the Fire Service District, I have placed on the agenda the recognition of our Fire Departments for the assistance they routinely provide to neighboring Parishes. Noteworthy is the fact that our departments in fact respond not only to incidents within our Parish, but also to fires and accidents outside St. Martin Parish. For example, on May 4, 2018, three of our departments (Breaux Bridge, Henderson, and Cecilia) responded to a major chemical explosion at a chemical concern located off of Interstate 10 near Duson. Frequently, St. Martinville and Cade respond to calls in Lafayette Parish and Iberia Parish. Butte La Rose and Henderson often are involved in calls for hours on I-10. Catahoula and Coteau Holmes generally respond to calls far outside the parameters of their communities. Such calls impose significant hardship upon both equipment and human resources. The public needs to fully understand the valuable public service these VOLUNTEERS discharge-not to mention the dangers of their work.

I have scheduled a meeting among Lt.-Col. Terry Guidry, our Emergency Preparedness Director, and representative of our municipalities to develop plans for the upcoming hurricane season. I intend to have in place specific plans in the event of a storm, with everyone having a full understanding of who will do what and when. Lt. Col. Guidry agrees a mutual understanding in advance of a storm forming in the Gulf will be beneficial. I cannot express how advantageous and pleasant it is to work with a professional such as Lt. Col. Guidry.

Item 7 of the agenda for the Administrative/Finance Committee meeting is the approval of a resolution allowing the Parish to execute a CEA with the La. Dept. of Veteran Affairs for the financing of veteran offices in our region. This is something we do each year, and it is sanctioned by La. R.S. 29:260. As an aside, the month of May is National Military Appreciation Month, and of course the last Monday is Memorial Day which is when this Nation commemorates those who have died in military service for the United States.