• 68°

Parish Council looking for alternative to $2 water bill fee

EDGARD — A $2 fee St. John the Baptist Parish residents are charged to use their credit or debit cards to pay their water bills online is coming under scrutiny.

Councilman Larry Snyder said he “hates to see the $2 fee” and asked if it would ever be rescinded during discussion of the matter at this week’s Parish Council meeting in Edgard.

“How can I pay other bills online and not get charges?” he questioned.

Chief Financial Officer Ross Gonzales explained Capital One Bank is passing on the fee, and Parish President Natalie Robottom said the parish is picking up a portion of the fee being charged by Capital One Bank but is unable to foot the entire bill.

Gonzales and Robottom emphasized residents who pay by other means, such as check or money order, are not assessed a fee.

Robottom said spreading the fee cost charged by the bank to all users would not be fair to residents not using credit or debit cards.

Snyder made a motion that was unanimously approved that administration officials search for other banks or services where there would be either no fee or a lower fee for each credit card transaction.

In other council news, public works director Brian Nunes said a drainage project already in progress on 24th Street would extend from the railroad all the way to Sweet Lorraine Road.

Although Sweet Lorraine Road was included in the original plan, Nunes informed Council members because of higher than expected costs the project would have to be scaled back.

Councilman Lennix Madere Jr. had repeatedly questioned Nunes during several recent about the changes, which often resulted in lengthy confrontations.

However, in brief comments, Nunes said the project would now extend to Lorraine Road and added he is requesting design plans for a similar project along nearby River Road.

“We can live with that,” Madere said.

Sources said the money left over from the project partially funded the overrun to complete the project.

Council members are schedule to meet with Robottom at 4 p.m. Nov. 29 in Council chambers in the first of what is expected to be several budget workshops.

Rather than tackle the entire budget in one workshop, Council members are hoping to target a few department heads at a time to gain a clearer understanding of the proposal fiscal package.  The fiscal year ends Dec. 31.

— By Richard Meek