St. James Council resolution asks for federal help in rebuilding Kaiser

Published 12:00 am Saturday, July 24, 1999

WALTER SMITH / L’Observateur / July 24, 1999

VACHERIE – St. James Parish Councilmen approved a resolution Wednesdayseeking assistance from the parish’s congressional delegation to obtain federal grants, tax incentives and possibly loans for the rebuilding of the Kaiser Aluminum plant in Gramercy.

This vote followed a presentation by a Kaiser spokesman who expressed the company’s desire to rebuild the damaged facility.

However, the resolution contained a provision that such assistance be “contingent upon Kaiser Aluminum and Chemical Corp. and the UnitedSteelworkers of America successfully negotiating a contract settlement and union workers returning to work”.

“These people locked out of their jobs are our citizens and residents,” said Parish President Dale Hymel. “We need to do all we can to help them getback to work.” Hymel told the council that Sen. Mary Landrieu has assigned a staff personto research the types of assistance available. The Louisiana StateDepartment of Economic Development is doing the same.

District 1 Councilman Elwyn Bocz moved that the issue be tabled until meetings could be scheduled with plant and union representatives. Themovement failed due to the lack of a second, and the resolution passed 5-0 with Bocz abstaining. Councilman Ralph Patin was not in attendance.Following a public forum held prior to the council meeting, the council voted unanimously to: Participate in the natural gas purchase-financing program of the Louisiana Municipal Natural Gas Purchasing and Distribution Authority.

This action will ensure a 10-year supply of natural gas at a substantial reduction in costs.

Approve the revision of the budget of the parish gas and water distribution system for the year ending June 30, 1999.

Appropriate funds for this same budget for the year ending June 30, 2000.

In other action, the Council voted unanimously to: Accept the low bid for the 1999 Roadway Improvement Program for St.

James Parish. F.G. Sullivan Jr., was awarded the contract for a bid of$548,937.78. “Of all the bids received, this was the lowest by severalthousand dollars,” said Hymel.

Proclaim Aug. 31 at United Way Day in St. James Parish Authorize the parish president to enter into an agreement with Waste Management of South Louisiana, Inc., to extend its present contract for thecollection and disposal of residential solid waste and recycling.

Authorize advertisement and receipt of bids for water pipeline to complete expected drainage improvements.

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