November 13 election: Rededication helps Parish double down on drainage

Published 4:37 pm Tuesday, November 9, 2021

LAPLACE — The flooding issues in St. John the Baptist Parish are two-fold, and Proposition No. 3 on the November 13 election ballot gives voters a voice in how funding is utilized for stormwater and drainage improvements.

If approved, 7 mills (an estimated $5,411,200 per year through the year 2046) currently earmarked for levees and outer flood protection structures could be rededicated to a broader scope of stormwater and drainage improvements within the parish.

This includes clearing interior waterways such as ditches, catch basins and storm drains.

The rededication does not represent an increase in taxes. Parish President Jaclyn Hotard emphasized that the rededicated mills would still be directed to improving parish-wide drainage, whether flooding comes from hurricanes or heavy rain events.

“We’re not looking to re-dedicate monies that are tied to drainage to anything other than drainage. In St. John Parish, we have storm surge issues, and we have flooding events that occur with heavy amounts of rain. The millage, the way it’s currently written, will only allow us to utilize this funding for problems associated with outward flood protection, but not clean a ditch in front of your house. We need to make sure we keep our interior drainage waterways clear and clean,” Hotard said.

Hotard added that St. John Parish’s drainage system is mostly gravity-based, and the parish does not have the capacity to take care of all drainage needs in house. Funding allows the Parish to utilize contracts to clear interior waterways.