Tuesday, May 28, 2013
At tonight’s council meeting, President Robottom requested approval and received authorization to award contracts for several critical projects. These projects included connection to the St. Charles Parish water system, construction of the Farmer's Market, repairs to the Peavine Boat Launch and renovation of the Edgard Courthouse. In preparation for hurricane season, the Department of Public Safety requested authorization to enter into a Memorandum of Understanding with the St. John Parish School Board for transportation services during emergencies.
Upon initiation by President Robottom, a committee was appointed to review short- and long-term solutions to the parish's water infrastructure problems. "For years, moving the LaPlace water system to the river has been discussed with little to no action. Continuing to invest in a system of wells approximately 15 miles away from the treatment system and susceptable to Lake Pontchartrain's surge and flooding is unacceptable. That approach has proven to be a failure and continues to place our residents and employees at risk," said President Robottom. The committee was charged with reviewing the current infrastructure and providing recommendations and associated costs for dealing with the extremely vulnerable water system in LaPlace. This need took center stage during Hurricane Isaac and remains a concern. The committee of engineers and parish employees met for several months and suggested use of emergency and parish funds for a permanent rather than temporary solution to the problem.
As an emergency water source for LaPlace residents, a contract was awarded to WGS Contractors, Inc. for completion of the St. Charles/St. John Interconnecting Waterline Project in the amount of $74,460. This project allows the parish to receive 1 to 1.5 million gallons of water per day from St. Charles Parish in the event of a loss of water during emergencies. Construction of this project is expected to be completed in 60 days and will begin once the water level in the Mississippi River is below 11 feet at the Carrolton gage. “In addition to other interim and permanent measures to the water system, connection to St. Charles Parish is critical and will serve as back-up to the LaPlace water system,” said St. John Parish Utilities Director, Virgil Rayneri.
The construction contract for the Edgard Courthouse Expansion and Renovation project was awarded to Foret Contracting Group, LLC of Thibodaux, LA for $2,133,000 and is funded through the 2009 Bond Issue, Juvenile Detention Fund, capital outlay, and departmental funds. The courthouse will receive major renovations on the interior and exterior of the building with the addition of a Juvenile Services Wing. It will also include a secured courtyard area to the north of the Juvenile Services Office. Through proper scheduling and coordination, all offices in the courthouse will remain open during construction which is expected to begin in July of 2013. A schedule and construction timeline will be issued prior to beginning construction.
A contract was awarded to Burk-Kleinpeter, Inc. of New Orleans, LA for $40,291.90 to prepare plans and specifications for repair and improvements to the LaPlace (Peavine) Boat Launch. This contract fee is based on the estimated construction cost of $271,326. Authorization was also approved to advertise for bids for construction of the West Bank Farmers Market. The Farmer's Market will be located at the foot of the Veteran's Memorial Bridge and will be comprised of a 4,800 square-foot metal building with ten 16-by-14-foot open-air stalls. The project cost is $168,800.00 which is funded by USDA and Economic Development.
In other action, a Memorandum of Understanding with the St. John Parish School Board was approved for transportation services during emergencies and disasters. All requests for bids and proposals will be placed on the St. John the Baptist Parish website, Central Bidding, and advertised in the L’Observateur.