Parish seeking better interest rates on bonds

Published 12:00 am Saturday, April 16, 2011



LAPLACE – A pair of bond refinances, a loan application and approval of a contract to build a covered basketball court at the West Bank Park Complex highlighted a busy parish council meeting in St. John the Baptist Parish Tuesday.

The council also signed off on substantial completion of two projects designed to correct long-standing wastewater collection issues in the parish.

The council voted on two resolutions to allow the parish to refinance water revenue bonds and general obligations bonds in an effort to save the parish more than $500,000 in interest over the life of the bonds, said parish spokesperson Paige Braud.

Braud said the water revenue bonds, which were originally issued in 1999 for $3.5 million, were issued to help finance construction and improvements to the parish waterworks system. She said the general obligation bonds, which were issued in 2002 for $6.6 million, were issued to help the parish fund improvements and repairs to public buildings, the parish drainage system, parks and playgrounds and public roads.

Braud said both were issued as 20-year bonds at a 5 percent interest rate. The resolutions, which require approval from the State Bond Commission, allow the parish to shop around for better rates.

“I believe any time we can save parish dollars, it is a great thing,” said Councilwoman Cheryl Millet on the approval of the bonds.

Also at Tuesday’s meeting, that council voted to allow the parish to submit a low interest loan application to the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality to help fund inflow and infiltration work on the wastewater collection system.

The parish is asking for a $1.35 million loan to assist in funding the work, which includes repairs to aging sewer pipes throughout LaPlace and Reserve that are cracked and allow water to infiltrate during heavy rain events in the parish. Braud said no match from the parish is necessary to secure the loan.

In other action, the council approved the acceptance of the low bid for construction of an airnasium at the West Bank Park Complex in Edgard. M. Slayton Construction of Metairie was awarded the $498,000 contract for the project. The project includes construction of a covered basketball court with accompanying restrooms. The project is expected to be completed in 180 days.

The council also voted to accept as substantially complete a project concerning sewer manhole replacement and restoration for sewer covers throughout the parish as well as the construction of the DuPont booster pump station in LaPlace. Braud said a pair of change orders, which decreased the overall cost of both projects, were tied into the motions.