St. John The Baptist Parish News Release

Parish Projects Move Forward During Transition

Parish Projects Move Forward During Transition

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Despite the transition of new council members and a new administrative staff, Parish President Natalie Robottom continues to move essential parish projects forward. At Tuesday night’s meeting, the Council authorized Robottom to advertise for bids for two projects targeting improvements in the Utilities Department. One project will address inflow and infiltration repairs through the Sewer Manhole Rehabilitation Program and the other will add telemetry systems to major lift stations throughout the Parish. The council also approved creation of a new Communications Department and director, increasing the number of Administrative Departments to eleven.

The Manhole Rehabilitation Program is designed to reduce infiltration of rainwater into the wastewater collection system to prevent overloading of parish treatment facilities. Phase II of the rehabilitation program is being funded by a low-interest loan from the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality (LDEQ) and includes design work and repair of approximately 50-60 manholes. Phase I of the program was completed in April of 2011 and included cleaning and/or coating of over 400 manholes, while approximately 50 were elevated and hinge covers installed. “This is the second round of repairs initiated by the parish since 2010 which will result in significant improvements in both wastewater collection and treatment systems,” said Parish President Robottom.

The telemetry project involves installation of electronic parameters to assist with the troubleshooting pumping systems of 50 lift stations throughout the Parish. This project is one of several wastewater project upgrades designed to minimize wastewater overflows. This project is funded through the Parish Wide Sewer Construction fund. “These repairs will reduce the flow of rainwater into our collection system, allowing our treatment facilities to operate within capacity,” added Virgil Rayneri, Utilities Director. Both projects are scheduled for completion in early 2013. Bid information will be advertised in the newspaper for both projects, on the parish website at, and on Central Bidding.

At Robottom’s request, the Council approved Ordinance 12-01, creating a new Communication’s Department. Robottom indicated that the new department was needed to promote citizen involvement and ensure communication with the public, businesses, industry, media, parish employees, and other organizations. The Public Information Officer’s position and responsibilities, as well as protocol for recording, tracking and responding to constituent requests and questions will be housed within that department. All outgoing information, including website updates, social media, and emergency alerts will also be administered through this department. After a lengthy discussion, the new department was approved and the council waived policy to accept President Robottom's recommendation of Paige Braud, the current Public Information Officer, as the new Director. The appointment was also approved unanimously.