Ascension Planning Director Jerome Fournier gave the Ascension Parish Council an update regarding home inspections throughout the parish. According to Fournier, between 10,000 and 12,000 homes need to be evaluated for substantial damage by FEMA and the parish. A property is declared as sustaining substantial damage by taking the value of the home and dividing it by the cost of repairs. If repair costs are over 50 percent, then the home is declared as having substantial damage.
Fournier said FEMA regulations say properties that are declared as substantial damage can either raise the property one foot above the base flood elevation, move the house to another location or tear the house down and rebuild in accordance to the flood base elevation on the same site.
Several council members expressed concerns over residents who have already begun repairing their homes, but have yet to receive an assessment or inspections from either the parish or FEMA.
"This is not a Katrina event," Councilman Randy Clouatre said. "This clientele that I represent, that elected me, are good, hardworking people. They went back every day in boats, and when the water got low enough, they went back in a big truck, and when it got down, they went back and cleaned their house up and tried to start working on it."
Fournier said that he is working diligently to inspect homes as quickly as possible, though he only has 11 people inspecting homes, six state fire marshals and five building inspectors.
"The plan is to approach FEMA, see if they will buy off on our methodology and use their assistance with this," Fournier said.
In other news, certificates of achievement were given by the council and Parish President Kenny Matassa to the Ascension 4-H members who competed at the 4-H University this summer and to the Jaguars AAU basketball team who were ranked 10th in the country after competed at a tournament in Florida earlier this summer.
Matassa also recognized Ascension Parish purchasing director Joan Shivers for her 20 years of service to the parish.
An amendment to the Cooperative Endeavor Agreement between the Ascension Parish Government, Fire District No. 3 and Prairieville Fire Department was approved, increasing the rate at which the fire district reimbursement the fire department from $430,000 to $450,000.
A request was approved to allow the Parish President the authority to apply for the 2017-18 Local Government Assistance Program for up to $100,000. The council also approved the parish to accept the 2016 State Homeland Security Program Grant in the amount of $59,704.
An ordinance was introduced to revoke an existing 15 foot drainage servitude located on the western boundary of Tract X of the Philip Haddad Property that is depicted on the Alvin Fairburn and Associates plan map.