Block grant would fund sewer rehab if accepted

Brandie Richardson @B_Lifestyles

     DONALDSONVILLE The regular city council meeting was held Nov. 10. Absent from the meeting was Councilman Reginald Francis.

     During the public comments, Ascension School Board member Robyn Delaney invited the council to attend a town hall meeting on Nov. 30 at 6:15 p.m. at Donaldsonville City Hall. Delaney noted that principals from all five schools on the west bank were invited to attend so that they can give an update to the community.

     Minutes from the Oct. 13 meeting were approved.

     During a public hearing, grant consultant Thomas Keen discussed how the Community Development Block Grant funding would be used to benefit the city if awarded. Keen said the money would be dispersed among sewer treatment, new sewer collection, existing sewer collection rehabilitation, portable water, water for fire protection, streets and demonstrated needs. He added that the program will benefit lower to moderate income residents. Another public hearing will be held Nov. 24 to further discuss the grant.

     Captain Rick Bergeron of the Ascension Parish Sheriff's Office gave the October report. During the month there were 54 vehicle accidents, 10 burglaries, 20 thefts, 49 alarms, five narcotics arrests and no armed and simple robberies. There were also 188 traffic citations, 90 adult arrests and five juvenile arrests.

     The Waste Water Treatment October report was given by Public Works Superintendent Spencer Harvey. During the month a total of 31 courtesy calls were responded to, routine maintenance and lawn care was completed and concrete slabs were poured and conduits were installed in preparation for the new generators. A new check valve was installed at the Smoke Bend lift station, the sewer main was unclogged at W. Ninth St., a capacitor was changed at the lift station on Bourg St. and the diaphragm at the John Folse lift station was repaired.

     Harvey also gave the road and culture report, which stated that the parks were cut and cleaned, all drainage around town was cleaned, street signs that were vandalized were repaired, grass was cut at abandoned properties, and all trucks and equipment were cleaned and serviced.

     Fire Chief Chuck Montero gave his monthly fire report. During October there were a total of 97 calls, which included 69 medical calls, one vehicle fire, four trash/ grass fires, two hazardous conditions, eight false alarms, zero structure fires and 13 other calls that mostly related to canceled calls. Montero noted that the department did a total of 305 man hours of training.

     Mayor Leroy Sullivan and the council discussed whether they want to continue with the levee top improvements despite the shortage of funds, or cancel the project all together. Sullivan said that the city is $109,000 short for the project. The council has not come to a decision yet.

     A Louisiana Development Ready Community Project update was given by member Robyn Delaney. She said that the project, which began in 2011, will end on June 30, 2016, after five years. For 2015-2016, the project will have $20,000 allocated to it to go towards improvements to the city. Additionally, the parish will add $10,000 allocated towards Louisiana Square. Delaney noted that there are 22 lights out in the historic district, most of which belong to Entergy. She they are in the process of trying to get all the lights fixed before the Avenue Evening Stroll on Nov. 21.

     The council voted to approve the final drainage payment of $20,766.10 to Expert Maintenance and Construction Services for W. 17th St. project.

     The vote for the Cross Connection Control ordinance, which pertains to the Back Flow Prevention Program, was tabled to the Dec. 8 meeting.

     A public hearing was held to discuss the demolition of the property located at 714 Lessard St. The council stated that the property is a safety hazard and is in violation of city codes. Attorney Ben Valentine was present, representing the two owners of the property. He stated that his clients have no preference if the property is demolished or not, but that they are not considered owners just “tax title holders” so they should not be responsible for paying the fee to demolish the house. The council voted to demolish the immediately and matters as to who is responsible for paying will be looked over by City Attorney Chuck Long.