St. Charles Parish Council approves operating budget

Published 12:00 am Monday, November 8, 1999

LEONARD GRAY / L’Observateur / November 8, 1999

HAHNVILLE – A $94 million consolidated operating and capital budget for St. Charles Parish met with near-unanimous approval Tuesday of theParish Council for the year 2000.

The budget asked for $91,553,404 in spending during the coming year, with an additional $1.8 million in amendments tacked on during budgethearings, with $123,996.746 income to pay for it. When 1999’s books are closed out, the parish is expected to have spent $89.4 million, with $147.4 million of income.The exception vote to the spending flurry, with four of the nine council members departing after this fall’s elections, was returning council member Barry Minnich.

“There was no prioritizing done,” he commented after the meeting. “Someof those approved votes were political in nature.”He continued, “I kept hearing that drainage was the top priority, but they moved into other budgets. I’m not into funding special interests.”An estimated $36 million of the budget is directed at drainage projects, slightly more than $1 million more added by the amendments.

Voting in favor of the 2000 budget, with no discussion, were council members Dickie Duhe, Brian Champagne, Terry Authement, Dee Abadie and Ellis Alexander.

Minnich voted against the budget, while Curtis Johnson Sr. was late forthe meeting and missed the vote, and Bill Sirmon and G. “Ram”Ramchandran were absent.

An intergovernmental agreement, continuing an earlier accord, was approved in a 5-1 vote between St. Charles Parish and the Lafourche LeveeDistrict.

The agreement is for the District to repay the Parish for work done in preparation for the West Bank hurricane protection levee, to the tune of $131,000 for the work done so far.

Alexander voted against, and said he first wanted to see an exact alignment for the levee before he could vote on this matter. ParishPresident Chris Tregre said that would be impossible, pending a survey of the sketched-out alignment provided by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.In other business, the Parish Council – Approved a change order for the Ormond Road Raising project, increasing the $528,500 project by $54,000, due to unanticipated poor soil conditions and the necessity of relocating utility lines. The vote was 5-1,with Alexander against.

Approved a change order for the $1.1 million sewer skips program todecrease the amount by $9,020.08. Earlier change orders added $10,000,and decreased by a total of $61,911.26. The vote was 5-1, with Alexanderagainst.

Approved a change order for the $245,000 Fourth Street pumping station, by increasing the contract amount by $28,969.51. The vote was 5-1, with Alexander against.

Finally, the council honored long-time finance department employee and head of the JTPA Program, Sue Agnelly, who is the new director of the ARC of St. Charles..Nov. 5-6 were proclaimed as “Poppy Days” for the American LegionSpillway Post 195, Norco.

Julie Lawrence of Destrehan, Miss Louisiana USA 1999, was also honored by the Parish Council.

The council meeting was rescheduled from Monday, due to the All Saints Day holiday.

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