Sorrento Council approves operating budget

Greg Fischer Editor-in-chief

Mayor Mike Lambert and the Sorrento Town Council met on June 6, 2017 for a regular meeting in which they approved this year's budget and gave each other a raise.

The pay increase was no secret, however, since it was brought up over a month ago at the May 2 council meeting. Mayor Lambert also changed the old provision, which gave the mayor $200 for a special meeting. 

"It's too much money," Lambert said. "We're just going to have a flat rate."

The council now makes a similar paycheck to the mayor and council of Donaldsonville. The last pay increase to the council was in 1984.

Next, the Police Report from April: 12 vehicle accidents, 1 burglary, 6 thefts, 4 cancelled alarms, 6 residential, 5 business alarms, 1 narcotics call, total 94 calls for service, 10 citations written and 6 arrests.

Calls were down since March, but this could be due to the rain, according to the representing APSO deputy. "Major calls still happened, but little ones decreased," he said. 

The 2018 operating budget was adopted, however they are having issues with FEMA. It was discussed that getting FEMA to compensate the town for work done after the flood is not an easy task. The council is also unhappy that FEMA sent an unqualified clerk to do a damage assessment to roads.

Additionally, Sorrento and All South Engineers are working on a flood control program grant. Although the town floods, it was last to flood back in August after Livingston Parish and everywhere in between. This means unfortunately, they payed premium prices for remaining flood pumps. The town is still looking to be better prepared, and this is probably a good conversation to continue.

Other agenda items included naming the Weekly Citizen as the official journal of the town; accepting the resignation of Dawn Elrod from the Planning and Zoning committee; approving a request to change zoning from R-1 to L-1 for Sorrento Lumber Co. at 9501 Airline Highway and an intergovernmental agreement between Sorrento and Ascension Parish regarding the uniform construction code.

Lastly, Sorrento is focused on participating in the Keep Ascension Beautiful campaign to keep litter down. Bob DeBate is participating on the board. It was leaked that a $2 million project is in the works for a new town fire station coming in 2018. Eight points would bring Sorrento up from a class 4 to a class 3 in fire protection.

"I'd like to congratulate our fire department for maintaining that rating," Lambert said.

It also appears that no parking signs will soon be added to a narrow 200-foot portion of Amanda Street. The next meeting will be held July 3.