Council chooses home repair firms

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 1, 2011



LAPLACE – The St. John the Baptist Parish Council recently approved a pair of contracts with area consulting firms that will inspect properties that qualify for the parish’s low-income housing repair program.

The yearlong contracts were awarded to Three Fold Consultants LLC of New Orleans and Providence Technical Services LLC of Baton Rouge. St. John Parish Chief Administrative Officer Marie Brown-Mercadel said the contracts are not to exceed $59,500 for each company.

The council voted 8-0 to approve the contracts, with Councilman Charles Julien absent from the meeting.

Parish spokesperson Paige Braud said more than 360 applicants submitted paperwork to get involved in the $1.3 million Housing Mitigation Program. She said only 60 homes (40 on the east bank and 20 on the west bank) will be approved for up to $15,000 for roof, window and door replacement repairs to owner-occupied homes damaged by hurricanes Gustav and Ike in 2008. The program will also pay for hauling and removing of debris from the repairs.

At a council meeting last month, the council approved a $19,000 contract with Benevolent Rural Alliance for Cultural and Environmental Strategies to screen applicants and determine eligibility. Mercadel said priority will be given to applicants over 60 and added those who qualify must have flood insurance and be up to date on mortgages.

Braud said once the applicants have been approved, the inspection firms will conduct pre- and intermediate-site visits to determine the extent of the needed repairs and to perform cost assessments to repair and/or replace roofing, exterior damages to window panes, doorways and emergency conditions that pose a threat to the health and safety of the residents. She said the inspectors will provide before and after photos and cost assessment reports identifying the repairs.

Braud said funding for the program comes through a grant from the state Office of Community Development Disaster Recovery Unit. The program is designed to alleviate threats to the health and safety of low-income homeowners who might not be able to afford the repairs.

In other action from the meeting, the council authorized the parish to go out for bids on an expansion project at Fire Station No. 72 in Mt. Airy. Braud said the project calls for extending the rear of the fire station out by 25 feet to allow for adequate storage for equipment and supplies at the fire station.

The project’s design was funded by Nalco Co. in Garyville, but the construction costs will be funded by the parish. Braud said the deadline for submissions is today at 3 p.m.