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St. Charles Council votes to light up Airline Highway

LEONARD GRAY / L’Observateur / September 23, 1998

HAHNVILLE – The aftermath of nearly two weeks of storm alerts resulted Monday in calls for road and lighting improvements in St. Charles Parish.Also, Parish Council chairman G. “Ram” Ramchandran led the thanks toparish employees, the Louisiana National Guard and hundreds of volunteers: “all those who pitched in.””We beat this thing,” Parish President Chris Tregre added, but warned if Hurricane Georges gets into the Gulf of Mexico, “we’re not going to play around with evacuation.” He urged residents to start making plans now.A proposal from Tregre to use dedicated Road Lighting District money to install and operate street lights along Airline Highway was altered slightly before approval.

At first, the proposal called for installation of 60 street lights from the Jefferson Parish line to Ormond Boulevard. However, with several lightedbusinesses in the section east of Almedia Road, Parish Councilman Curtis Johnson instead amended the proposal to install the lights beginning at Almedia Road and extending to Prospect Avenue, Norco, and in Montz, if possible.

This was seconded by Parish Councilman Ron Phillips and met unanimous approval, with Parish Councilman Terry Authement absent from the meeting.

The project will take $33,000 for installation of the 60 lights and pay out $1,200 per month for maintenance to Entergy.

New Sarpy resident Stanford Caillouet protested the action, saying the money should instead be used for road and drainage improvements. Tregreand Parish Councilman Barry Minnich reminded Caillouet the money in the Road Lighting District fund can only be used for lighting.

“We need the lights to see the high water and potholes!” Johnson exclaimed.

Drainage improvements for the Lakewood Drive drainage improvements were next on the agenda. Low bidder J. Calderara and Co. was awarded the$1.9 million contract.Caillouet protested that as well, saying the money should instead be used to sue the Lakewood Subdivision developers.

Minnich replied, “Stanford Caillouet is not the spokesperson for Lakewood Subdivision, and they want this!” Parish Councilman Brian Champagne asked about the possibility of filing a lawsuit, and parish attorney Randy Lewis said such liability generally expires after one year. The subdivision was developed more than 30 yearsago.

Public Works Director Richard Wright said the job should take eight months to complete.

In other activity, the Parish Council: Welcomed Allen Kirkley and George Williamson, representing United Way of St. Charles, which is shooting for a fund-raising goal of $1.2 million. Approved the annual tax levy. In the tax levy, all millages authorized arebeing levied, except in Road Lighting (1 of 2.69 mills) and MosquitoControl (0.71 of 2.13 mills). Also, 1 mill of Mosquito Control’s 2.13 millshas been reassigned to Recreation.

East Bank taxpayers, excluding Norco, will have a total levy of 26.03mills. Norco taxpayers, including Gravity Drainage District No. 2, will havea total levy of 31.81 mills. West Bank taxpayers will have a total levy of24.94 mills. Approved directional signs for justices of the peace residences, upon request. State sign requirements will be researched to locate the signs onthe state right-of-way.

Discussed a proposed advisory handbook for the Planning and Zoning Commission and the Zoning Board of Adjustment, submitted by Ramchandran.

Also, annual parish budget hearings are scheduled Oct. 12 at 9 a.m., Oct. 15at 6 p.m. and Oct. 22 at 6 p.m. Advance copies are available to the public atthe Parish Council office and at the East and West Regional libraries. Allmeetings will be held in the Council Chambers, Hahnville.

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