Pump station cost irks council

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Video bingo also on St. Charles council agenda


Staff Reporter

HAHNVILLE – In an effort to give council members more time to discuss issues left over from the previous administration, the St. Charles Parish Council scheduled a series of committee meetings to iron out details.

In a meeting Tuesday, St. Charles Parish President V.J. St. Pierre asked the engineer involved with designing the Magnolia Ridge pump station to revise structural specifications in an effort to possibly bring down construction costs.

Several new council members have been vocal with their criticisms regarding the cost of the project, which has ballooned to an estimated $20 million since Hurricane Katrina. The original budget was in the range of $11.5 million.

Rick Shread, president of Shread-Kuyrkendall engineers, the designers of the station, said at the meeting that he was told to change the design to allow more pumps, bar screen cleaners, and other additions that were not a part of the initial bid. He told the council’s Operations, Maintenance and Construction Committee that entering new bids for the project would add six more months to the completion date, setting it back to 2009.

Also Tuesday, the council’s Legislative Committee postponed action on a recommendation to enforce a tax on video bingo in St. Charles Parish.

Edward Dufresne, a partner with the company that owns a video bingo parlor in Luling, said that since the parlor already pays a percentage of winnings to the Sheriff’s Office for security detail, his operation could not afford to pay heavier taxes. Dufresne also argued that traditional bingo halls should be subject to taxation.