Parish President Natalie Robottom and her administration are trying to complete several important projects, but they take time to recognize retired employees. The Parish Council authorized Robottom to sign an agreement with the Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD) for construction and installation of a roadway lighting system on Interstate 10 at Belle Terre Blvd. (LA 3188). They also approved the execution of two contracts for canal permitting and the solicitation of bids for the Homewood Drainage Project.
The agreement with DOTD requires that St. John the Baptist Parish pay 10% of $743,500 estimated construction cost of the lighting project, which is $74,350. "This is a small price to pay for the safety of our residents. This project will improve the visibility and in-turn the safety of drivers entering and exiting St. John Parish along this interchange," said Parish President Robottom. Upon completion of the system by DOTD, St. John the Baptist Parish will assume all legal liability, including maintenance, operations, replacement, and energy costs. "I am glad we are on track and making progress with this project, this will benefit the residents and their safety as it is a well-traveled area. I didn't want to use our funds so I have been patient in moving this project forward," said Councilwoman, Cheryl Millet.
St. John the Baptist was recently awarded funding from the Louisiana Recovery Authority (LRA) to clear an additional twenty three canals throughout the parish. Permits are required for all projects that involve this type of cleaning, and obtaining them has been problematic. In an effort to expedite the canal cleaning process, Robottom requested authorization to execute contracts with two separate engineering firms to secure the required permits. "Contracting the permitting process will assist the Parish in pursuing all twenty-three permits simultaneously," stated Robottom.
The council also authorized administration to solicit bids for the Homewood Drainage Project. This project is estimated to cost $1,343,254.00 and is funded by the 2009 bond issue. Upon completion of this project, the capacity of the Reserve pump station will increase and provide relief to residents from Homewood to Central Avenue who experience flooding. "Throughout the years, we've had drainage problems in Homewood and on Central Avenue. I'm just trying to do my best, along with Administration, to alleviate these problems. Residents from these areas had enough confidence to elect me to keep their best interest in mind, and that's what I intend to do", said Councilman Charles Julien.
In recognition for their contributions to the Parish, retirees with 30 years or more of service were recognized by the Parish President and Council. "Their hard work and dedication for so many years is greatly appreciated," said Parish President Natalie Robottom. "To do a job you have to have passion for it. If you do it, you have to do it right," said Mr. Louis Cortez, who worked for St. John the Baptist Parish for 31 years.