Hurricane prep focus for St. John Council

Published 11:45 pm Friday, May 2, 2014

By Monique Roth


LAPLACE — In preparation for this year’s hurricane season, St. John the Baptist Parish President Natalie Robottom was recently authorized by the St. John Council to enter into agreements for emergency services during declared emergencies.

The Council also authorized the Administration to move forward with an agreement for engineering support for grant programs within the Utilities Department.

A five-year, no-cost Memorandum of Understanding was also authorized with the South Louisiana Region of the American Red Cross for sheltering services. The agreement goes into affect during emergencies to assist impacted individuals and families and provide humanitarian services.

Contracts for Emergency Bus Drivers were also approved and become active during declared emergencies requiring evacuation.

“It is critical to have these agreements in place prior to hurricane season,” said Public Safety Director Jobe Boucvalt. “This is one way the parish prepares for hurricane season and we encourage residents to begin making their preparations at home.”

A contract was awarded to Digital Engineering and Imaging Inc. for engineering support and grant management services. The contract is for one year at a not-to-exceed amount of $50,000. DEI will close out existing grants from the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Restoration Program, the Louisiana Government Assistance Program, the Community Water Enrichment Fund and the EPA. Once all grants are closed, St. John is expected to receive approximately $2 million.

DEI will also research grant opportunities for the Utilities Department and prepare applications for federal, state and local grants.

“This is a great opportunity to capitalize on available federal and state funding for water system enhancements and wastewater improvements,” said Robottom. “Additional support and assistance with management and documentation will help expedite the projects and make timely requests for funds.”