Highlights from the Parish President’s Report of the St. Martin Parish Council Committee Meetings of September 18, 2018
FUTURE ROAD IMPROVEMENTS
I ask that each of the council members provide me with a list of roads in your district (or any district for that matter) which you feel need repairs/reconstruction. I wish to set aside a specific sum for road repairs in the upcoming budget, and am eager to have each prospective road evaluated and prioritized by DDG for repairs.
HENDERSON LAKE DRAWDOWN
The water level in Lake Henderson has again rose to almost seven feet. This is the product of two factors: recent rain and the opening by the Corps of Engineers of the Courtableau Drainage Structure on Tuesday, September 11, 2018. To protect the efficacy of our drawdown, and working with the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, we opened the gates at the Henderson Control Structure at 11:00 A.M. on Thursday, September 13,2018. As of this morning, we have seen a slow, steady reduction in the water level. It is the intent to keep our structure opened until the water level reaches 6.10-6.20 feet which is as ideal as we can expect. As I previously advised, adjustment of the gates between now and November 1, 2018, will likely be necessary.
BAYOU ESTATES FLOOD GATE PROJECT
For the last two meetings (Committee meeting in August and the September meeting), you have entertained several “issues” relative to this project. As you are aware, there are several residents of the affected area who do not agree with the proposed design of the flood wall. Mr. Byron Fuselier, Heath Babineaux, Mo Saleh (our engineer), and I met with two of the property owners on September 7, 2018, and discussed an alternative design. Mr. Saleh advised that he felt that the plan was workable; however, he was uncertain as to what additional costs may be associated with it. Hence, I am awaiting receipt of the estimated cost and will act accordingly. Both Mr. Fuselier and I made it quite clear to the property owners that if the cost of the alternative plan exceeded our budget, then we would proceed with the original plan and institute whatever legal proceedings were necessary to confect the plan.
CAPITAL OUTLAY BUDGET REQUESTS
Item number 2 of the agenda for the Public Works Committee meeting will call for the adoption of a resolution for the submission of requests for Capital Outlay Budget Requests for 2019-2020. I have prepared a preliminary resolution therefor. This list of projects set forth therein is not exhaustive. Also, note that I have included two requests which address the provision of water services. On August 31, 2018, I had a very productive meeting with Senator Fred Mills on this issue, and he felt that all of the requests were valid and worthy of consideration. Additionally, once we have a final resolution in order, I will confer with Richard Minvielle to aid us in this endeavor.
MEETINGS WITH DOTD
On September 13, 2018, I met with Representative Mike Huval, Council Member Chris Tauzin, Bill Oliver with DOTD, and several members of Mr. Oliver’s staff. The purpose of our conference was to review and discuss several road issues in Mr. Tauzin’s district. Afterwards, it was suggested that each district representative participate in such a meeting every quarter. Mr. Oliver was very receptive of this idea and agreed to such a plan. Therefore, I ask that each of you identify any “state roadside” issues in your district, and I will proceed to schedule meetings among you, our legislative delegation, and Mr. Oliver and his staff.
PROPOSED CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT NO. 3
Under Item No. 6 of the Administrative/Finance Committee Meeting Agenda is the consideration of a resolution supporting the passage of proposed amendment number 3 to Louisiana’s 1974 Constitution. Mr. Leblanc has asked for consideration of this resolution, and I support and applaud his efforts. Currently, intergovernmental agreements between local governmental units for the use of personnel and equipment must satisfy criteria which are vague and often problematical. This amendment will simply these endeavors. Moreover, it is my belief that as regards Parish Governments, municipalities will better recognize that our previous requirements for written intergovernmental agreements were indeed prudent.
HENDERSON-NINA WATER SYSTEM/BUTTE LAROSE
I remind you of the meeting of the Henderson-Nina Water System Board on September 19, 2018, at 6:00 P.M. at the Henderson Recreational Center. At that time, I will entertain questions regarding the CEA for water services to the Butte LaRose community. Also, I intend to sign the accord which you have previously authorized. As background to this matter, I quote my previous remarks from my last report.
“In an effort to introduce potable water services in the Butte LaRose community, we abolished Waterworks District No. 5, and authorizing me to enter into a CEA with the Henderson-Nina Water System to assist it in securing the resources for the provision of water services to the residents of the former WW District No. 5. I have met with Ray Robin on several occasions, and we are now prepared to sign the CEA. We will do so at the meeting of Henderson-Nina Board on September 19, 2018, at the Henderson Recreational Center. The time is 6:00 P.M. and I will address any questions about the Parish’s role in this matter. We anticipate many of the residents of Butte LaRose will be present. Naturally, all council members are invited to attend. You are to be applauded for the unique approach to the water issues in this area; in fact, the State Director of the USDA has commented positively on our unique approach to this matter.”
CANAL/ROADSIDE SPRAYING AND CLIPPING
On September 13, 2018, all of our public works supervisors, Dean Dore, Nanette Theriot, and I conferred with Brushmasters, the firm with handles our roadside and canal spraying. Roadside spraying occurs 5 times per year. With respect to the latter, we are currently in the fourth spraying cycle which should end next week, depending on weather conditions. The final spraying is scheduled for November at which time a pre-merge type chemical will be used and which acts as a broadleaf weed preventative. Each spraying cycle utilizes variant chemicals depending on the time of the year and the prevalent growth.
The canal or lateral spraying are conducted twice per year. The first spraying occurs in March-April. The second spraying is scheduled to transpire in the mid-fall season. After some discourse, it was agreed that in the future the second spraying should occur in July. Hence, this will allow for less of a window where clipping of the canals is necessary-probably once between the months of October and November. Brushmasters did not recommend canal spraying more than twice per year for a number of reasons, inclusive of erosion of the canal banks.
Overall, I was pleased with the cooperative work of the spraying and clipping between public works and Brushmasters. We agreed that we would evaluate the program in late November or December.
The Pontoon Bridge is in dire need of repairs again this year. Indeed, Colby Guidry with that firm has advised that without any commitment for the repairs, the bridge would likely be closed by DOTD. Consequently, on August 13, 2018, I instructed him to solicit quotes on the cost of the necessary repairs. As of last Friday, we have at last received three quotes: M. Matt Durand, LLC-$96,700.00; C.E.C., Inc.-$140,000.00; and, Buillard Construction-$113,000.00. I have authorized Mr. Guidry to notify the low “bidder” to proceed. The balance in our budget for bridge repairs is currently $222,769.27. Thus, we have $126,069.27 remaining for 2018 relative to bridge maintenance.
Mr. Guidry has been instructed to proceed to obtain quotes for the repair of the Potato Shed Road bridge. It is anticipated that the repairs to this structure can be accomplished for a cost within the remaining balance in our budget.
Thus, according to Mr. Guidry none of our bridges are in jeopardy of being closed as a consequence of the 2018 DOTD bridge inspections.
FOUR MILE BAYOU ROAD BRIDGES
I have received formal notice that the Office of Facility Planning has confirmed that after certain procedural steps, the capital outlay funds can be diverted from the road overlay project to bridge repairs. Huval and Associates was advised accordingly on September 6, 2018. Mr. Guidry of the firm is in the process of again surveying the matter and will proceed to prepare the necessary bid package. The fact that we are proceeding to secure repairs will prevent the closure of these structures. As an aside, we explored the possibility of replacing the bridges with culverts, but that approach was deemed unreasonable by our engineers. Such a proposition was discussed and rejected several years ago.
FLOOD MITIGATION ASSISTANCE
I remind you that in order to assist our residents, I have arranged for Gary O’Neal, formerly with GOHSEP, to sponsor a presentation at our offices on September 19, 2018, at 6:30 P.M. to review the application process with interested and affected property owners for assistance from the Flood Mitigation Grant Program which was funded by the 2018 Consolidated Appropriations Act. Mr. O’Neal’s current firm handles such applications. Heath Babineaux will represent me at this meeting since I will be at the Henderson-Nina Water System Board Meeting. As I informed you in my last report, I have met with several property owners over the last couple of months and am pleased to coordinate this application process for them and other affected owners. Notices of the meeting have been posted on our website.
BUILDING CODE AND NUISANCE VIOLATIONS
In the report for the August Committee Meetings, I informed you of two suits which were file by the Parish seeking mandatory and prohibitory injunctive relief. It was obvious that the property owners in question had elected to challenge the commitment of St. Martin Parish to enforce its ordinances for nuisance regulation and code enforcement, a challenge which we accepted. Both matters have been resolved in our favor-one owner agreed to the injunction and his attorney has endorsed a judgment to that effect. The second owner has also agreed to submit to an order resolving his issues. I hope that our stance in this litigation transmit a positive, strong message of our resolve.
FY 2019 BUDGET PREPARATIONS
Sean Hundley and I have commenced working on the 2019 Budget. This is an arduous, time consuming process, and I therefore ask for your patience as we proceed. It is also a new venture for me and I appreciate the cooperation Sean and my entire staff have shown me during the preliminary stages of this process. However, you may be assured that the other affairs and duties of this office will not be neglected during this time.
KEEP LOUISIANA BEAUTIFUL
We would like to congratulate Ms. Holli Guilbeau, out Recycling/Compliance Technician. Ms. Guilbeau recently received two awards from Keep Louisiana Beautiful. These honors were the Circle of Excellence Award and the Outstanding Affiliate Director Award.