Several significant matters were addressed at the St. Martin Parish Council meeting on May 7, 2019, which are of unusual import. After receiving an update on the major improvements and reconstruction at St. Martin Hospital in Breaux Bridge, President Chester Cedars disclosed the following development relative to the Hospital. Unbeknownst to most of the Public, Parish Government is responsible for providing medical services, including medications and treatment, to all inmates at the Parish jail. Currently, the four nurses at the jail are employees of Parish Government, and the Parish is responsible for the cost of a jail physician. The unfunded mandates further embrace providing for the mental health needs.
After evaluating this matter for several months, President Cedars confected a revolutionary agreement with St. Martin Hospital whereby the Hospital will assume the responsibility of providing the mandated medical services. In direct cost savings alone, President Cedars anticipates six-figure savings in tax dollars. Moreover, the services the Hospital will provide include telemedicine, electronic health records, and a behavioral health component.
As previously reported, the solid waste program for the Parish has been operating at severe deficits for the last several years. After several months of negotiations, President Cedars presented the council with options for the replacement of the current program which is scheduled to expire on July 1, 2019. The program approved is with Pelican Waste and Debris, LLC and will include weekly solid waste disposal in 94-gallon containers, weekly recyclables in 64-gallon containers, and twice monthly bulk and yard waste disposal. The program will eliminate an annual deficit of approximately $250,000 and yield a franchise fee of approximately $120,000.
The contract for the construction of the Cecilia Civic Center was approved. The low bid of $930,000 was submitted by Acadiane Renovations, Ltd., and construction of this 6,000 square feet facility is expected to be completed within the next 200 days.
Further, after the last meeting of the council when President Cedars advised that he has possibly secured a source of funding for the replacement of the Pontoon Bridge in Butte LaRose, the Parish Council adopted the necessary action for the issuance of Louisiana Local Government Environmental Facilities and Community Development Authority Revenue Bonds to start the process for securing funding. The bridge replacement will not be funded by any tax increase or imperil the pledge of any general obligation funds.
Finally, the Parish Council, by unanimous vote, elected to proceed with an appeal of the adverse decision rendered last month in the case involving Lake Martin. The Parish is adamant about protecting this natural resource and preserving its uniqueness.