The decision by St. John Parish Officials to request proposals for the solid waste collection and removal contract panned out well for both the parish and residents. After reviewing competitive proposals from four (4) experienced companies, the contract was awarded to IESI/SWDI, formerly SWDI, at a reduced monthly rate and additional savings toward recycling.
IESI/SWDI’s proposal reflected significant savings between the proposed pricing and the current pricing in all but one category. Over the next five years this will result in significant savings for the parish and St. John residents. In addition, IESI/SWDI has invested over $1,000,000 in a facility located in Reserve and employs approximately 35 residents of St. John the Baptist Parish generating $1.4 million in payroll. “Since building their facility in St. John Parish, community engagement and responsiveness have been hallmarks of the company. They have worked closely with parish officials to develop contingency plans to accommodate a number of capital projects and to reduce the inconvenience to our residents,” stated Parish President Natalie Robottom. “The Council and the Administration worked hard to save the parish over 2 million dollars. We have a good product for our people and SWDI/IESI will continue to provide us with great service,” added Councilman-at-Large Ronnie Smith.
In other action, the Council approved a Joint-Use Agreement with DOTD for use of land and airspace at the intersection of LA 18 and LA 3212 for the West Bank Farmers’ Market. The 10-stall (4,800 square-foot area) farmers’ market, located at the foot of the bridge in Wallace, will be designed for farmers to sell their crop in one central location. “By finalizing this agreement, the parish can move forward with plans to erect a farmers’ market in this easily accessible location. We have high hopes that this joint venture will ultimately help local our vendors sell homegrown, heart-healthy products,” explained Robottom. St. John Parish employees will prepare the site for development while construction of the building will be by a contractor. While the building is under construction, workshops on policies and procedures, vendor qualifications and product marketing will be conducted for those interested in becoming a vendor. Plans are to open the market by the end of the year. District I Councilman, Haston Lewis, a long-time proponent of the market, was excited to get the agreement signed. He said, “I believe it’s going to be great for our local farmers. It will help sell their products, and it will be a great addition to our community.”