St. John Parish Council recap – 9/13 meeting

Published 6:00 am Saturday, September 17, 2022

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LAPLACE — Restoring trust in the school system was the message interim superintendent of St. John the Baptist Schools Rebecca Johnson delivered during the Parish Council meeting this Tuesday night in Edgard.

Johnson was making her first appearance before council members since being appointed interim superintendent in May in the wake of the sudden resignation of former superintendent Dr. Lynett Hookfin, who had been with the system for nearly two years.

Johnson had been promoted to assistant superintendent in March.

“We have to do what’s best for the kids,” Johnson said, noting there are currently “more positives than negatives” surrounding the schools.

She said the school year began with no schools expected to receive an ‘F’ rating, after four schools had been tagged with that grade in recent years.

Johnson previously served as an educator in Lafourche Parish and a school support specialist for the Louisiana Department of Education.

“(Johnson) is a passionate educator,” Councilwoman Tyra Duhe-Griffin said.

Duhe-Griffin said Johnson was a supporter of St. John schools while serving in the Department of Education.

In other action:

-The council approved the renaming of Epsilon Avenue to Pinnacle Avenue at the request of Marathon Petroleum, which is the owner Epsilon.

-Chief Financial Officer Rob Figuero announced a decrease of 1.25 mills on ad valorem taxes.

-Council members approved a professional services agreement with CDM Smith of New Orleans for the water treatment reserve osmosis unit site on Woodland Drive.

Assistant director of utilities Reed Alexander said the project is one of the three components in the transition of the source of water for LaPlace from the Ruddock wells to the Mississippi River.

-Fire stations damaged during Hurricane Ida should soon be undergoing repairs. Del-Con LLC of Berwick was awarded a contract to complete the repairs. Peter Montz, director of purchasing and procurement for the parish, said Del-Con submitted the low bid of $1.75 million.

-The parish is also entering into an agreement with Digital Engineering and Imaging Inc., for the 2021 Hurricane Ida National Resource Conservation Service funded canal cleaning. Councilman Tom Malik noted that six canals will be cleared.

“All of the canals have a lot of debris in them,” he said. “There are various programs to clean them.”

Hotard called the NRCS agreement “remarkable,” saying much work went into getting those six canals cleaned.

Councilman Lennix Madere expressed hope that in the future additional money will be awarded to clear more canals.

-Del-con was also awarded a $25,000 change order for the removal and disposing of fallen trees, tree stumps and other vegetation debris at the Lions Water Treatment Plant and the Walnut Water Tower side in order to continue fencing repairs replacement at both sites.