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Council hears about ‘near riot’ at bin give-away

By Leonard Gray / L’Observateur / May 18, 1998

EDGARD – Composting bins are apparently a hot item in St. John theBaptist Parish, as residents lined up for blocks to purchase $10 bins last Saturday.

However, when the first 75 bins were gone and the price, as per agreement and as previously advertised, went up to $20, a “near-riot” broke out, according to Parish Councilman Joel McTopy.

Fortunately, no fistfights broke out and names were taken instead to help others who showed up to also purchase bins at the $10 rate, with the parish picking up the balance out of the solid-waste budget. A total of 275bins has been allotted to St. John Parish.”We had a lot more interest than anyone anticipated,” McTopy commented.

To reserve bins, residents are told to phone 652-4815. “We were amazedat the participation,” Parish Councilman Nickie Monica added.

Trash collection rates also went up in keeping with the parish contract to pay Consumer Price Index increases. The new rate, approved by the ParishCouncil Tuesday, is $9.76 per month for residential and commercialcustomers.

In other activity, the Parish Council voted to dig up the Greenwood Pool, long an eyesore and “a major insurance liability,” according to Parish Councilman Duaine Duffy.

The 20-year-old pool cracked as it bulged upward in July 1996, forcing its discontinued use while the parish, which has owned it since 1991, discussed its fate.

After getting several repair estimates and considering selling it to someone else who would repair and operate it, the Parish Council unanimously voted to remove it at a cost of $25,000.

The Parish Council voted to proceed with a $1.5 million master drainageplan development contract with Shread-Kuyrkendall Engineering, first signed in 1994.

The resolution to proceed was first approved at the April 14 meeting and since vetoed by Labat, who said in his veto statement: “The motion does not state what job they will be doing, how much it will cost, nor a pre- approval from administration to do the work. It doesn’t state how thework will be accomplished, nor does it give justification for the price they will charge to do the project.”Labat’s veto was unanimously overridden, with a stipulation as to the contract suggested by Parish Councilman Dale Wolfe that parish engineer Chuck Savoie oversee the project for the parish.

Also, the Parish Council added its approval to a plan to redistribute unclaimed money from the Shell Oil explosion settlement. After muchdebate, the $613,000 will be divided among the 9-1-1 centers in the River Parishes.

The plan had to be approved by the three sheriff’s departments, parish councils and parish presidents and now needs the final signoff by the administrative judge, Civil Defense Director Bertram Madere said. The St.John Parish Council was the last to approve the plan.

A resolution was approved for engineering service from LACE Engineering to light Belle Terre Boulevard from the present extent of street lighting to Interstate 10, while seeking state highway department reimbursement.

“We should not let the state off the hook,” McTopy urged.

During committee reports, Parish Councilman Ranney Wilson pointed out there had been no quorum for meetings of the St. John Airport AdvisoryCommittee for nearly a year, and added, “This needs attention.”Parish Councilman Perry Bailey suggested a letter to board members to ask if they wished to be replaced. An amendment to their by-laws wasapproved mandating if any member of the board had three consecutive unexcused absences, they would be replaced.

Also, Parish Councilman Kevin Duhon was named the new chairman of the advisory board.

Planning and Zoning Director Laurette Thymes clashed with the parish government over two matters. The first was over conditional approval ofdevelopment plans for Foxwood Manor subdivision, LaPlace.

Thymes said the initial plans were not approved by the Planning Commission and she hoped to bring the newly-revised plans back to the commission prior to submitting them for Parish Council approval.

Wilson, instead, said the development had been delayed long enough and the plans were approved anyway.

Thymes urged referring the plans back to the Planning Commission for their review, but this was ignored.

In the other matter, Thymes suggested the Parish Council create a new position in her department, that of permit coordinator. Labat interruptedand said this matter had not yet been discussed with him and the matter was dropped.

The Parish Council, after some discussion with Labat, passed a resolution that all capital improvements and engineering contracts be reviewed by the parish engineer and go through Labat’s office prior to Parish Council consideration.

Also, the Parish Council approved a resolution that purchase of all parish vehicles and motorized equipment of at least $5,000 value be approved first by the council.

Councilmen Duhon, McTopy and Nickie Monica disagreed in the 6-3 vote for approval.

Finally, the Parish Council’s Railroad Advisory Committee will meet May 18 at 6:30 p.m. in the Percy Hebert courthouse annex, LaPlace, and the JobFair at West St. John High School is set 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on June 5.

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