Wednesday, April 13, 2011
The St. John Parish Council approved thirteen finance agenda items and five more on the regular council agenda, indicating Robottom and her Administration have no plans of slowing down. Included on the agenda were items of substantial completion for two major projects aimed at correcting problems in the waste water collection system. Both projects were accompanied by change orders with net decreases in the cost to the Parish. Other approvals will allow Robottom to proceed in making improvements in sewerage, drainage, transportation and recreation. Additionally, the council approved resolutions that lay the ground work for the Parish to save over $500,000 in interest payments over the next several years.
“I am actively pursuing every opportunity to save the tax payers money, and this is an excellent opportunity to do so. Bond refinancing at the current interest rates will significantly reduce interest payments for at least two outstanding bonds,” stated Parish President Natalie Robottom. Approval by the Bond Commission is required before the Parish can shop the bonds for the best rate.
The Water Revenue Bonds, originally issued in 1999 for $3,500,000, was for the purpose of constructing and acquiring extensions, improvements, and additions to the waterworks system. The General Obligation Bonds were originally issued in 2002 for $6,635,000. These bonds were to acquire, construct, and improve public buildings and its furnishings, improve drains and the drainage system, repair parks and playgrounds, and improve public roads. Regarding the resolution passed at the council meeting, Councilwoman Cheryl Millet stated, “I believe any time we can save parish dollars it is a great thing.”
Robottom also received authorization to submit a low interest loan application to the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality for up to $1,356,000 for inflow and infiltration repair work in the wastewater collection system. No match is required by the Parish. These repairs will help residents in LaPlace and Reserve who have suffered for many years with sewer problems during rain events. Combined with other improvements to both the drainage and waste water systems, a reduction in wastewater loading on the River Road Treatment Plant is anticipated. Councilman Charles Julien explained, “This will be a wise use of tax payer’s dollars. This work has been long overdue, and I would like to commend administration on following through with work that was started before they got in and expediting it with fiscal responsibility.”
The West Bank Airnasium Project is headed to construction as a contract for $498,000 was awarded to M. Slayton Construction of Metairie. The project is funded by the 2009 bond issue and consists of constructing a covered basketball court with accompanying restrooms at the recreation complex on the West Bank. The project is expected to be completed within 180 days.
In other business, an agreement between the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (LA DOTD) and St. John the Baptist Parish Council was authorized for completion of an airport master plan study. This study, which may cost up to 170,000, is fully funded through the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and LA DOTD and will consist of an action plan for future improvements to the St. John the Baptist Parish Airport.
And finally, as July creeps around the corner, Robottom sought authorization to sign a contract with Pyrotecnico for the annual firework display. Pyrotecnico will supply and display the fireworks for the St. John the Baptist Parish Annual Independence Day Celebration which will be held on July 3, 2011 at 9:00pm. “This is always a well-attended event and we look forward to celebrating it again this year,” stated Robottom.