St. John streets may get a good sweeping soon

Published 12:00 am Saturday, July 29, 2000

ERIK SANZENBACH / L’Observateur / July 29, 2000

LAPLACE – A request by the St. John Parish administration to advertisefor a new street sweeper unexpectedly drew some fire and brimstone from the parish council.

Ranney Wilson presented a resolution authorizing the administration to advertise for a new street sweeper.

“The street sweeper we have now is dead,” said Wilson. “We need a newone.”However, Melissa Faucheux was worried that a new sweeper will not be used parishwide, only in certain areas of LaPlace.

“Everybody pays taxes here in the parish,” said Faucheux, “and the sweeper should be available to everybody in the parish.”Director of Public Works and Utilities Henry DiFranco tried to calm her fears.

“I can assure you that no area of the parish will be left out,” said DiFranco.

He told the council that because of the size of the old sweeper, it could not go down certain streets in the parish.

“But we can go and buy the correct size,” said DiFranco.

Lester Rainey, who represents the west bank, was skeptical about a sweeper going everywhere in the parish.

“I’d like to see this sweeper,” Rainey commented. “It must be a hell of asweeper to make it over to the west bank.”Parish President Nickie Monica said that depending on the size and model, the cost of a new sweeper would run between $95,000 and $135,000. Healso said the parish had the funds available to buy the sweeper.

Monica said a study concluded it would be cheaper to buy a sweeper than bring in an outside company.

“It is not economically feasible to contract out the sweeper,” Monica stated.

DiFranco added that a parish worker could be trained to operate the sweeper and the parish would not have to go through the expense of hiring someone to drive the sweeper.

But Faucheux wasn’t convinced.

“I’ve lived here for 34 years, and I’ve never seen the sweeper we have at work,” Faucheux said. “Everybody should have access whether they need itor not.”Wilson said that when the sweeper was working, it did just fine in his subdivision of Belle Pointe.

Councilman Allen St. Pierre, who used to be director of public works,agreed.

“It did sweep many streets in LaPlace,” said St. Pierre. “I advise theadministration to look for a sweeper that will go down small streets.”Steve Lee, who seconded Wilson’s motion, brought the discussion to an end.

“The sweeper did service the subdivisions north of Airline Highway, and it cleaned up after parades and kept the ditches clean,” said Lee. “But themotion I seconded was to get the administration to just look for proposals. We’re not asking them to buy anything yet.”With that, the council passed the resolution unanimously giving the administration the authority to go street sweeper shopping.

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