Voters approve Ascension Parish sewer proposal

Michael Tortorich

Ascension Parish voters approved the sewer deal on the April 24 ballot.

Ascension Parish Council members Alvin “Coach” Thomas and Joel Robert chat during an open-house event for the parishwide sewer proposition.

The proposition passed with 4,308 yes votes (56 percent), while 3.347 voted no (44 percent), according to complete but unofficial results from the Secretary of State. The unofficial turnout was 9.2 percent.

Voters on the west bank, as well as parts of Geismar and Gonzales also could decide on the 2nd Congressional runoff between Troy Carter and Karen Carter Peterson. The remaining parish voters only had the parishwide proposition on their ballots.

The sewer deal allows the parish to sell its east-bank wastewater utility assets, excluding the corporate limits of the City of Gonzales and Town of Sorrento, and grant franchise to operate the system to National Water Infrastructure LLC.

Over recent weeks, parish officials went on an informational campaign both in-person and online. Some answered questions through social media.

Leading up to the election, administrators and council members hosted four open-house events at schools in Donaldsonville, Prairieville, St. Amant, and Dutchtown.

Ascension Parish residents gave video testimonials about the importance of the sewer deal on the Ascension Sewer website.

Parish President Clint Cointment said he was proud to announce the sale of the sewer assets had been approved by voters.

“This is another monumental accomplishment of our administration and council. I strive to continue earning the trust of our residents by continuing to improve our parish’s transportation, drainage and recreation,” he stated.

Key terms of the deal include:

  • A one-time payment of $9.26 million to the parish based on the appraised value of the sewer assets, subject to Louisiana Public Service Commission approval.
  • An annual franchise fee of $500,000, said to likely increase as new customers are connected to the system.
  • Release of $15 million in tax funds dedicated to future sewer repairs. The freed up funds could then go toward roads, drainage, and recreation, according to officials.
  • More than $3 million in annual tax savings previously allocated to subsidizing the cost of 2,000 existing parish sewer customers.

Officials have said the parish could save and earn more than $95 million over the next 20 years.