Becnel offers land for sewer plant
Published 12:00 am Tuesday, May 31, 2005
By MOLLY DRYMAN
LAPLACE — Attorney Daniel Becnel Jr. gave St. John the Baptist Parish Council an offer to a long-awaited solution to the massive lack of sewer capacity Tuesday night.
Becnel took the stand in front of the crowded room and began telling the council what he thought about the sewer situation.
“It is absurd not having enough sewer capacity,” Becnel said. “I tried giving you land a year ago and nothing was done about it. I will offer it again. I will donate 10 acres of land and will sell you the rest at fair market value, a reasonable cost.”
Becnel said he has lingered around for a year and gave the council seven days to make a decision.
“You have a choice,” Becnel said. “We are not waiting around anymore. We’re going to sell it. There are too many people who want it.”
The council said the land offered a year ago was not for a regional sewer plant, but for a new government facility.
Becnel stated at the meeting that was true, but when it was brought to his attention about the sewer capacity problems he remembered about this offer from a year ago.
“About a year ago Riverland Industrial Property
offered to the Parish 10 acres of land,” Becnel said. “The other 10 acres would sell at market value, provided they re-located their administration facility there. Built into the offer was a new East Bank courthouse.”
Becnel said he offered it this way, because it is absurd to have the majority of St. John Parish to have to go to different buildings to get things done.
“This was the offer a year ago and the conditions,” Becnel said. “They haven’t done anything, so when I saw what was happening, I thought what would be a better place.”
The land is centrally located across Airline Highway from East St. John High School, which is currently a sugar cane field, he said.
“There is enough land to expand,” Becnel said. “They could construct the regional sewer plant, new administrative building and a new court house.”
Becnel said the Edgard Court House was fine, but people will eventually get tired of having to take the ferry, plus now they have limited the number of cars on the ferry, “there’s not even a place to eat over there.”
“This land will allow the Parish to have everything in one place, ” Becnel said. “They could have their regional sewer plant, a courthouse with multiple rooms and get rid of the Acuri Center.”
The moratorium on new construction will not affect Becnel and his construction, because he has already paid for the sewage capacity.
“The Parish has no choice at this point, but to stop new construction,” Becnel said. “I’m not going to get hindered by this. I have sewage for all my land. I don’t have a problem. I paid for the sewage capacity and I will block them in the courthouse if I have to. They do not have the right to do this. I’ll block them in five minutes.”
Councilman Allen St. Pierre stated at the meeting that Becnel’s offer sounds fine, but said the council has no money to do all these things. They “don’t even have enough money to send people to the movies,” he said.
Becnel had walked out of the room at this time, but later responded to the comment.
“That is a bunch of bull,” Becnel said. “How about using some of the money the DA’s Office is paying private individuals to pay other individuals? Use that money, or what about the money from the millage we pay every year for courthouse renovations? St. Charles and St. James don’t have this problem with their courthouses. I hate to say this, because I have friends on the council, but there is not one successful businessman on the council. They have acquired no wealth and no employees working for them. They get a paycheck every month and look at someone to tell them what to do. They are going to get trapped by the EPA. ”
Becnel suggested giving the people back the money from the millages if they were not going to use it.
“I have donated plenty of money and land,” Becnel said. “I am the only one who has any property and I am not going to wait around much longer. Either they’re going to buy it or it’s off the table. I could care less either way.”
Becnel said he had a meeting on Thursday with Parish President Nickie Monica about the land.
“Looks like we’re going to have a proposal within the next seven days,” Becnel said.