St. James Parish Council wraps up 2011

Published 12:00 am Saturday, December 24, 2011

By David Vitrano

L’Observateur

VACHERIE – The St. James Parish Council tied up a few loose ends and said farewell to two of its members along with Parish President Dale Hymel as the body held its last meeting of the year Tuesday.

The meeting was preceded by a public hearing on the purchase of 116 acres of property south of Louisiana Highway 3127 near Lake Des Allemands to be used for future state and parish projects and for wetland mitigation credits. The council voted unanimously to approve the purchase of the property from the Bayou Chevreuil Land Co. for $600,000.

The council also accepted a bid from Hot Shot Delivery Services of $39,037 for a meal delivery truck. Hot Shot was the only entity to submit a bid.

Hymel introduced three resolutions granting him permission to seek grants from the Department of Transportation and Development. If awarded, the grants will fund the construction of a metal structure to house the parish’s fleet of transit vehicles. The combined grants would total $168,000.

The council also approved a resolution to request the DOTD to lower the speed limit on Louisiana Highway 44 between Louisiana Highway 642 and Hester Street from 55 to 45 miles per hour.

“We have two churches in that area and quite a few elderly and kids,” said Council Chairman Ralph Patin.

Additionally, the council approved a motion to advertise for bids for the restructuring of a tower to handle the parish’s emergency communications.

“The current tower we have was built in the mid-80s,” said Emergency Preparedness Director Eric DeRoche.

He explained the tower was damaged by storms in recent years, and the new one will be built to current standards, which stipulate it must be able to withstand winds of up to 130 miles per hour. He added the new tower will be 50 feet taller.

Lastly, the council approved a measure to move its first meeting of 2012 from Jan. 4 to Jan. 9 to coincide with the date set for the inauguration of the new council members as well as Parish President-elect Timmy Roussel.

Also at Tuesday’s meeting Judge Jude Gravois presented the council with an annual report on the parish’s beautification efforts.

Now aligned with Keep America Beautiful, the newly rechristened Keep St. James Beautiful organization had a busy 2011.

“I think we had a very productive year,” said Gravois.

He said the group conducted an anti-litter event as well as a recycling event and is in the process of planting daffodil bulbs to beautify the parish.

Keep St. James Beautiful also developed a logo and handed out window decals with the logo and will soon be placing signs with the logo around St. James Parish.

“It’s all part of the education process,” said Gravois.

Tuesday’s meeting concluded with a presentation of appreciation awards for outgoing council members Elwyn Bocz and Wilson Malbrough as well as Hymel.