Ascension Parish sewer proposal public meetings set

Michael Tortorich

Ascension Parish officials plan to cover the four corners of the parish with open-house informational meetings pertaining to the upcoming sewer proposal vote April 24.

Parish council members announced the four dates, times, and locations: March 16, 6 p.m. at Lowery Middle School Gym in Donaldsonville; March 22, 6 p.m. at Prairieville Middle School Gym; April 7, 6 p.m. at St. Amant Middle School Gym; and April 19, 6 p.m. at Dutchtown Middle School Gym.

In a post, the council’s Aaron Lawler said at least another event on April 8 is in planning. He said the parish president, council members, and engineers are planning to attend the events.

Officials have said they plan to conduct online meetings as well.

Voters will have a chance to review material and ask questions about the proposed regional sewer deal for the eastbank of the parish, excluding the City of Gonzales and the Town of Sorrento.

Ascension Parish Council members including Michael Mason, seen during a November meeting, have planned public informational meetings on the upcoming sewer proposal vote.

The council’s Chase Melancon thanked Chad Lynch of the Ascension Parish School Board for his assistance with securing the facilities.

Parish leaders have completed negotiations on the terms of a franchise agreement with National Water Infrastructure, LLC.

NWI will give the parish a one-time payment of $9.26 million, based on the appraised value of the sewer assets. The final purchase price is subject to approval by the Public Service Commission.

Additionally, NWI will pay an annual franchise fee of about $500,000 per year, according to officials. 

Parish administrators have said they expect to save some $3 million annually in taxes assessed to all parish residents that have subsidized sewer costs for less than 2,000 parish sewer customers.

The agreement would commit NWI to an investment of $200 million to build a consolidated sewer system without investment required by the parish.

Also, the agreement includes sewer repairs at Oak Grove Primary School.