Hubbard details bond projects at Rotary speaking engagement

Published 12:00 am Friday, July 11, 2008


Editor and Publisher

LAPLACE – St. John Parish President Bill Hubbard used the opportunity to speak to the LaPlace Rotary Club this week as a chance to help promote the upcoming bond election facing voters here on July 19.

Hubbard explained the many benefits that could come to St. John Parish if the $25 million bond measure is approved.

And the best news for the voters is that there will be no new taxes resulting, if voters back the measure that will come up for a vote in just a week.

“We have started a lot of things here,” Hubbard said, pointing to many projects since he took office in January. “But there are a lot of things we can’t do without more funding. This bond measure gives us money for a lot of important projects, but we don’t have to raise taxes to do it.”

The bond before the voters will simply continue current millage levels being paid already, since a previous bond measure will be running out.

The $25 million will go to six different areas:

—$4 million for the hurricane levee starting in St. Charles Parish.

—$5.5 million for drainage work in St. John Parish.

—$3 million for road improvements.

—$5.5 million for the Lions water treatment plant, to expand capacity.

—$5 million for a proposed new government complex building.

—$2.5 million for recreational facilities.

The hurricane levee money will be for St. John to put up their matching amount with the federal dollars coming to the area, while the drainage money will help Hubbard complete his goal of “getting every drain in St. John cleaned out.”

While a new water system is about to go on line from Ruddock, providing the LaPlace area an entirely new water system, the bond measure will fund expanding the capacity of the Lions treatment plant from 2.5 million gallons a day to 4 million gallons a day.

“That will fix the needs of our area for the next 15 years,” Hubbard explained.

A new government complex building is proposed, but it won’t just be to increase the size of the Percy C. Hebert Building.

“A study was done showing that we have about 10,000 square feet of government space right now, but we need about 30,000 square feet,” Hubbard said. “We will build more space for the courtrooms on the West Bank, and expand the Arcuri Center on this side of the river. What we have now for an East Bank clerk’s office is a shame.”

Hubbard said he expects to have the Woodland Drive extension, connecting Highway 51 to Belle Terre Boulevard, finished in “two to three years.” Currently there is $400,000 the parish has from the state to do the design work, and Hubbard said he has commitments from the Louisiana Legislature to get more money next year. He firmly believes the extension will be built in his current term.

Also, the regional planning commission met three weeks ago and is beginning a study to expand Airline Highway from four to six lanes, with landscaped medians.

“We also are looking at getting federal money to help with a large, multi-purpose recreational facility, which could also be used for evacuation purposes in times of emergencies,” he added.

However many of the projects mentioned will be difficult to impossible to accomplish without the bond funding, Hubbard said.

“We can only do so much with our current labor force,” he noted. “That’s why passing this bond measure is so important.”