Ascension Council plans bond issue for sewer

Wade McIntyre

The Ascension Parish Council passed a resolution at its regular meeting Thursday stating its intention to issue sewer revenue bonds not to exceed $18,000,000 for proposed construction and improvements to the parish sewer system.

The bond money is for construction, extensions and replacements to the current system including a new treatment plant and lift station.

Parish President Tommy Martinez said the parish has an agreement with the Corps of Engineers to build the new plant on BASF property. A private firm will take over and build a trunk line to send drainage to the plant for processing where the parish does not have an existing line in place.

Martinez described the proposed bond issuance as “due diligence” for the parish as it moves toward upgrading sewer disposal in Ascension.

Parties interested in taking on the project will have  to submit a fee scale in their proposals ensuring the bonds can be paid back.

Councilman George Valentine said the declaration of intent was just another option that the parish is considering as it moves toward building the plant.

“We still have a lot of discussion about the core plan,” he said.

The bonds are due to mature no more than 22 years from their date of issuance. They are to be paid back with income and revenue the parish takes in from operation of the sewer system after the expense and costs of operating the system are taken into account.

A certified copy of the resolution and the parish’s intent is to be formally submitted to the State Bond Commission for approval.

Martinez said the bond proposal includes some money for attorney fees for the firm that wins the parish bid proposal, while other bidders would be require to pay their own fees.

In an unrelated matter, the council introduced an ordinance amending an ordinance in late 2009 pertaining to administrative functions at the Lamar-Dixon Expo Center.

This proposed amendment will allow the Expo Center to offer governmental and non-profit organizations reduced rates when they use the facility.

Government and parish agencies would receive up to a 30 percent discount in rates; national, state and regional non-profits would be offered up to a 20 percent reduction; churches and schools would see up to a 15 percent discount; and the administration and facility general manager would be offered to 30 percent discounts.

The amendment also allows vendors the opportunity to “buy out” parking and concession fees.