$30 million in bonds on ballot in St. John

Published 12:00 am Saturday, November 16, 2013

By David Vitrano

LAPLACE – Today’s election may not have anything glamorous on the ballot — just a run-of-the-mill bond issue in St. John the Baptist Parish — but whether voters take the time to make it to the polls may have a great impact on actual quality of life issues, according Parish President Natalie Robottom.
Up for vote today is the issuance of $30 million in bonds to fund various infrastructure and other projects in the parish.
“That’s the most this parish has ever been able to bond,” said Robottom.
She attributed this to the way the parish has managed debt in recent years. According to parish administration, St. John Parish has refinanced approximately $30.8 million in general obligation and revenue bonds for a savings to taxpayers of approximately $2.5 million.
Robottom and her staff have earmarked the following amounts for different areas of need if the measure passes:
• Drainage, canals, pumps and levees – $13 million;
• Water systems – $5 million;
• Roads and bridges – $3 million;
• Public buildings – $6 million; and
• Parks and recreation – $3 million.
The administration has also put together a list of possible specific projects based on input from parish officials, residents and businesses. The list at this point is not conclusive, and ultimately the Parish Council will have to decide which projects get funded, but some of the items penciled in include expansion of the east bank government complex, funding for a pump station at Vicknair Canal and the West Shore Levee in the Pleasure Bend area and repairs to Woodland and Fairway bridges.
“I’m putting (the list) together based on your input,” said Robottom. “We can buy some equipment. The older areas, the ditchwork, here’s an opportunity to do this.”
Robottom also noted that although the parish funds a large number of improvement projects through grants or the parish’s general fund, the projects sometimes require work outside of the originally-planned scope, and this bond money could be used to help fill in those gaps.
Passage of the measure will incur no new taxes for residents.
Polls open at 7 a.m. and close at 8 p.m. Sample ballots as well as election results can be viewed on the Louisiana Secretary of State website, www.sos.la.gov., using the “Geaux Vote” feature.  
There are no elections today in either St. Charles or St. James parishes.