Council gives green light to RFPs for Myrtle Grove floodgateJun 26th, 2012 | By Terri Sercovich | Category: news
The Myrtle Grove Community got the answer they wanted at the June 14 PPC meeting.
The council passed a resolution 7 – 1, directing Parish President Billy Nungesser to seek proposals for the Wilkinson Canal floodgate. For over a year, Myrtle Grove residents have been requesting a flood gate be constructed across the Wilkenson Canal since their community is left out of the new levee hurricane protection system. The proposals would allow the council and administration to see if the engineering, design and construction costs for the flood gate are something the parish can afford.
The sole nay vote come from District 9 Councilwoman Marla Cooper, who frankly stated that she wouldn’t be supporting the resolution.
“I can’t support this because I have the view that if you built on riverfront property, you know the risk,” Cooper said.
District 1 Councilman P.V. Griffin had a different perspective, and felt that the argument of “knowing where you built” was outdated.
“Times are changing and you are taxpayers so we have an obligation to take care of your needs,” Griffin offered.
Mike Mudge, who spoke on behalf of Myrtle Grove homeowners explained that the resolution isn’t appropriating any money, it is simply authorizing the administration seek proposals to find out if any contractor can do the project for a reasonable price.
“We’re just like you,” Mudge contested. “There’s no difference between your wants and my wants.”
District 6 Councilman Burghart Turner and District 5 Councilman Anthony Buras countered Cooper’s statement, by comparing the early days of the Jesuit Bend with the Myrtle Grove situation.
“In the Jesuit Bend area, we knew where we built… when we have the opportunity to make it better we should try to do so,” stated Turner.
Buras, a Jesuit Bend resident, offered further perpective.
“In the mid 80′s there was no back levee in Jesuit Bend and people made a conscious decision to build there; As a government we should at the very least determine if this is feasible,” Buras affirmed.
“It’s not allocating any money,” Buras stressed. “It’s just asking the administration to put out an RFP to see how much it could cost.”
Other council decisions:
- During his Port Status Update, Port Manager John Pennison informed the council that all positions on rescue boats have been filled and “the Port is fully staffed.” Additionally, Pennison gave a tonnage report and stated that the Port has shipped more than 2 million tons of coal and petroleum in comparison with the same 2011 time period. In May, “The Pacific Creation”, a ship at Associated Terminals was packed with 132,000 tons of coal–the heaviest ship to be loaded out of the port, Penisson said.
- A resolution requesting the Administration to supply a list of campaign contributions made to members of PPC and to the Parish President by any person who would be benefiting from the award of a contract with the parish failed by a 2 – 6 vote. District 3 Councilman Kirk Lepine offered the resolution with the intention of increasing the transparency in parish government. Councilchair Byron Marinovich said he opposed the resolution because of the tediousness of having to rely on the administration to supply such documents, and its effects on the timeliness of council meetings which can as long 6 hours. Additionally, Marinovich believed that the resolution implied that anyone who takes campaign contributions is unethical. The sole “yea” votes came from Districts 3 and 6.
- The PPC voted 7 – 0 (Councilmen Guey and Hinkley were absent) to amend the Five-Year Capital Improvements Plan at add an addition $450,000 to the Fire Fighting Fund for the replacement of the Central Fire Station in Belle Chasse. Fire Chief Roy Robicheaux explained that “We didn’t have enough in the budget to proceed; I think this will complete the project.”
- The boat harbor lot lease for Biloxi-based company, Tiger Pass Seafood, was changed from a January 2013 start date to a July of 2015 start date by a 6 – 1 vote. Councilman Turner opposed the ordinance because he feels that since Tiger Pass was given a lease for 30 years — only $833 a month — that the company shouldn’t wait two years to start paying the increased rate. District 9 Councilwoman Marla Cooper argued that the company has already invested $500,000 into the lot, and is set to make even more improvements into the area so the low-rate is an incentive for them to stay in Plaquemines Parish and hire more locals.