Federal dollars soften the blow of Hurricane Ida repair expenses

Published 12:08 am Saturday, February 12, 2022

LAPLACE — Hurricane Ida’s wrath continues to ding St. John the Baptist Parish’s coffers, although the federal government is helping to soften the blow.

The Parish Council adopted three resolutions during its meeting this past Tuesday night totaling nearly $700,000 for water meter and hydrant repairs as well as street lighting.

Parish Director of Purchasing and Procurement Peter Montz said Ida caused an estimated $443,961 worth of damage to street lighting throughout the parish. But in a bit of encouraging news, Montz said the repairs will be funded through the Hurricane Ida Fund and FEMA reimbursement.

The council also awarded a bid to J. Caldarera & Company of LaPlace for emergency water meter and fire hydrant repairs.

Montz called the damage to the meters and hydrants “extensive.”

Also regarding Ida, the council authorized the parish to advertise for proposals for repairs and to install a temporary belt press at the River Road wastewater treatment plant. Montz said a company will be hired to remove, process and dewater approximately 180 wet tons of sludge in the digester tanks that have accumulated since Ida’s passing.

Parish officials said additional damage assessments will be completed and submitted to FEMA for reimbursement. Those funds will be used to make permanent repairs to the plant.

Council members also approved a resolution helping move the West Shore Lake Pontchartrain Hurricane and Storm Damage Risk Reduction System forward.

Parish President Jaclyn Hotard said the resolution allows the parish to enter into an intergovernmental government agreement with the Pontchartrain Levee District, explaining that certain rights of ways and parish owned property is needed for the completion and operation of the mammoth project that, when completed, will provide the parish protection from future storm waters.