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Council Oks Baker-Heritage deal

By LEONARD GRAY / L’Observateur / November 30, 1998

LAPLACE – Another step has been taken toward ending the Baker-Heritage albatross story, as the St. John Parish Council voted unanimously toapprove an agreement with the South Louisiana Port Commission.

The port wants the building (it already owns the land it sits on) to house potential tenants of their Globalplex facility in Reserve. The parish hadbuilt the building for $2.4 million, the money raised through a bond salesupported by economic development tax funds.

The building was built to house the Baker-Heritage hosiery plant, which failed to make timely lease payments and ended up closing its doors more than two years ago, owing the parish thousands of dollars in lease payments and sales tax.

Ever since, the parish government has tried unsuccessfully to find a new tenant. Now the port will try its hand at leasing themanufacturer/warehouse space on West 10th Street. The port commissionwill meet Monday in a special meeting at 8 a.m. to finalize the agreement.Under the terms of the still-unsigned lease-purchase agreement, the port will give the parish $54,500 cash, to match the $45,500 raised through the sale of abandoned hosiery manufacture equipment. Then the port willmake monthly payments of $11,807.91 and an additional cash payment of$250,000 on or about Jan. 1, 2013.In other matters, the St. John Parish Council voted unanimously to approvean out-of-court settlement with Time-Warner Cable TV, staving off a possibly lengthy lawsuit over irregularities in cable rates charged local consumers.

Parish Councilman Joel McTopy reported that Time-Warner owes upward on $17,000 in back fees, but is willing to settle for televising the Parish Council meetings live from the Percy Hebert courthouse annex building, at a total equipment cost of $7,810.

“I don’t feel we’re compromising,” McTopy told the Parish Council in urging acceptance of the deal. He commented later this move willeliminate dragging out the issue with whatever money is realized going to legal fees.

In another matters: Barbara Jacobs of Reserve Telephone Company reported on the automated phone system problems at the St. John Parish Courthouse in Edgard. Sheurged all Edgard residents to use the local number when calling, not the 1- 800 number, and said some of the problems are with personnel not acknowledging calls. Instead, they would allow the calls to go to thevoice-mail system, she said.

Rodney Miller and Stan Orillion got the Parish Council’s approval for a $15,000 grant application aimed at re-opening the Garyville Timbermill Museum on a regular basis. At present, the museum is open by appointmentonly.

The Parish Council paid tribute to the Edgard Eagles, age 11-12 football team, which won the state championship for its classification, and to the NOAH Gators, ages 9-10 football team, which won its second consecutive state championship. The Eagles are coached by Wilbert Thomas, PerryBailey, Elliot Thomas and Arthur Smith Jr. The Gators are coached by EricRogers, Tony Monroe, Darren Helm and LeBaron Sylvester.

Bids were opened and taken under advisement for the Magnolia Street (LaPlace) drainage improvements and for the Regala Park office building in Reserve.

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