Garbage fee increases in St. James Parish
Published 11:45 pm Friday, April 20, 2012
By ROBIN SHANNON
VACHERIE – The St. James Parish Council on Wednesday approved an ordinance to raise the fee for collection and disposal of solid waste throughout the parish.
Also at Wednesday’s meeting in Vacherie, the council voted in favor of adding a voting representative from the parish’s Volunteer Firemen’s Association to the Parish Planning Commission.
The council voted 5-0 to approve a 3.8 percent rate increase for residential solid waste collection and disposal as part of a change in cost from Waste Management of Louisiana LLC for garbage collection services. The company increased its monthly fees from $15.93 to $16.43 per unit, according to the parish ordinance authorizing the rate increase. Increases are based on the consumer price index.
Parish President Timmy Roussel said the parish would cover half of the increase and pass the other half, 25 cents, onto the residents. Residential collection fees now jump from $6.50 to $6.75 per household per month, Roussel said.
During a public hearing on the ordinance, Councilman Terry McCreary asked about the parish’s contract with Waste Management and when it would be up for renewal. Roussel said the contract is up in October and added the parish is contemplating seeking new bids on garbage collection for the first time in about 30 years.
Parish attorney Bruce Mohon said the parish would have to give Waste Management 90 days notice should the parish choose not to renew.
The other ordinance discussed Wednesday, which adds a voting representative from the Volunteer Firemen’s Association, was also approved by a 5-0 vote. McCreary, along with Councilmen Alvin St. Pierre, Jason Amato, Jimmy Brazan and Ken Brass, voted in favor of both members. Councilmen Ralph Patin and Charles Ketchens were absent from the meeting.
The Firemen’s Association has lobbied for a seat on the Planning Commission for several months, saying it wanted to offer input on the parish’s future growth in fire services. The initiative was part of a recent assessment of the parish’s volunteer fire system.
The ordinance also allows Roussel to add a voting member and the St. James Parish School Board to appoint a non-voting administrative employee to the Parish Planning Commission.
The ordinance will increase the number of voting members on the Parish Planning Commission from seven to nine.
In other action, the council discussed ideas on how to prioritize services and programs that residents pay for. Roussel said he has held meetings with directors to toss around ideas on how to prioritize a list of services like sewerage, mosquito abatement and other programs. He said the parish could hire a public relations firm, execute a phone bank or go door-to-door to survey what the residents want.