St. John Council votes for insurance, approves grants for water system
Published 12:00 am Saturday, April 28, 2012
By ROBIN SHANNON
LAPLACE – Instead of voting for a parish insurance plan offered up by Parish President Natalie Robottom from Arthur J. Gallagher and Millet Insurance, the St. John the Baptist Parish Council on Tuesday opted to stay with the current provider, Riverlands Insurance.
The council accepted an $814,300 package proposed by Riverlands Insurance over a plan from Gallagher and Millet that would have been about $171,000 less. The Riverlands plan keeps the parish from having to process its own insurance claims.
“I don’t think we need to be in the insurance business,” said Councilman Lennix “Tweet” Madere during discussions on the policy. “I don’t think it is something we should gamble with.”
The administration said the parish’s past experiences led it to recommend that the parish take a greater role in self-insurance.
Councilman Art Smith offered the motion to retain Riverlands Insurance. Smith, Madere, Ranney Wilson, Marvin “Butch” Perriloux, Lucien Gauff and Larry Snyder voted in favor, while council members Jaclyn Hotard and Cheryl Millet abstained. Councilman Michael Wright was absent from the meeting.
In other action, the council discussed options for road and traffic lighting on Louisiana Highway 3179 between LaPlace and Reserve, particularly near where the road intersects River Road and Airline Highway.
“It is dangerous at night and when it is raining,” Snyder said. “If not for lights near DuPont, you would never see the turnoff.”
Snyder, Madere and Perrilloux suggested the state install either a caution light or a full traffic light at the intersections as a safety initiative. Robottom said the parish would follow-up with the state Department of Transportation and Development to see what can be done.
The council also approved a resolution to accept grant funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Business Enterprise Division for construction of the parish’s proposed farmers market in Wallace. The parish will begin construction on the market once funds are delivered, which is expected to be by May 1.
The council also accepted $140,000 in state grants for improvements to the parish water system’s Lions and Edgard water plants, as well as improvements designed to increase water pressure in LaPlace.