Council BUMPS up with speeders

Published 12:09 am Wednesday, August 5, 2015

LAPLACE — Speed bumps and a lengthy discussion of street signs vs. traffic signs dominated much of last week’s St. John the Baptist Parish Council meeting.

The debate was sparked by a proposed ordinance. which passed, that allowed speed bumps to be installed without having the Sheriff’s Office sign off on the request.

Council members and parish officials expressed their overall frustration regarding speed bumps, saying when the parish puts down a speed bump at the request of a resident, nearby residents often call and complain to have it removed.

“For us, it’s very difficult,” Parish President Natalie Robottom said. “As soon as we get them down, we are getting calls to pick them up. This is not the answer (to slowing down drivers).”

Robottom said she met with Department of Transportation and Development officials to discuss alternative solutions for slowing down drivers.

Councilman Marvin Perrilloux suggested less intrusive speed humps and the elimination of speed bumps.

Councilman Lennix Madere said the parish does indeed have a speeding problem and “the longer the street, the faster they drive.”

Councilman Lucien Gauff suggested increasing the use of lights displaying a vehicle’s speed, adding it seems to have been impactful in some areas.

Council members also sparred with parish officials regarding the size of signs that can be placed on the fronts of homes that advertise contractors performing home improvement work at the house.

No agreement was reached, and the item is scheduled for discussion at a future meeting.

In other business:

• A resolution was passed requesting the state reduce the speed limit on Louisiana 44 between the St. James Parish line and the St. Charles Parish line from 45 miles per hour to 35 miles per hour.

• Authorization was given for the parish to enter into an agreement with Advanced Utility Auditing that could result in the parish being refunded for expenses that may have been overpaid for utilities and telephone services. Under the terms of the contract, the auditor receives 50 percent of all rebates or refunds as a result of locating and collecting any overpaid expenses from the past three years.

Chief Administrative Officer Michael Coburn emphasized Advanced Utility would not be paid unless it identified and collected overpayment of expenses to companies. Coburn said St. James Parish used the company and was pleased with the results.

Councilman District VI Larry Snyder expressed his displeasure, but Coburn said the contract “can only benefit the parish.”

The measure passed 8-1, with Snyder dissenting.

• An ordinance was passed shortening the time the parish has to wait before taking action against property owners who fail to maintain their property by allowing the grass and “obnoxious weeds” to get out of control.

— By Richard Meek