Council gives preliminary approval of $15 mil. bondMar 9th, 2012 | By admin | Category: News
In their Tuesday night meeting, St. Bernard Parish Council unanimously gave preliminary approval for a $15 million dollar sales tax bond, to either pay off debt owed to FEMA under National Flood Insurance Penalties or to pay contractors hired to work on capital improvement projects that went over budget.
Councilman Ray Lauga, District A, expressed concern that the exact amount of debt, and the debtors have yet to be concretely defined.
“We haven’t identified who we owe the money to and how much we owe,” Lauga explained. “You’re asking me to take on some debt for the parish without even knowing what were taking that debt on for.”
The parish is selecting an audit firm March 9 to better determine how much funding is actually needed, a crucial step to be fulfilled before the parish can actually sell the bonds.
Attorney Grant Schlueter, a representative from New Orleans-based bond council Foley & Jundell, LLP, spoke at the meeting and further explained that it will take three more actions by the council to actually issue and sell the bonds.
“You’ll have to actually advertise the bonds for sale, at which time you’ll need to know whether you need the full $15 million or a lower amount, you need to introduce the bond ordinance, and finally you would need to adopt the bond ordinance actually selling the bonds,” Schlueter detailed.
The approval of this resolution allows the council to present the bond for review by the State Bond Commission for approval at their April 19 meeting.
According to a tentative schedule placed within the resolution, the council could adopt the bond ordinance as early as May 15 and receive the bonds by June 21 of this year.
Other Council News:
• In his President’s Report, Parish President Dave Peralta announced that the parish has conducted lengthy meetings with the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Prepareness in regards to nearly $52 million in Hazard Mitigation Grant Program Funds. The parish has submitted 26 projects to be considered for funding.
• The council unanimously passed a resolution requesting the Secretary of Department of Public Safety and Corrections to establish and collect an extra one dollar service fee on all motor vehicle office transactions. The money generated by the one dollar increase will be used toward expanding the Chalmette office at 1914 E. Judge Perez Dr.
• In a unanimous vote, the council approved a resolution to synchronize traffic lights on St. Bernard Highway and Judge Perez, from Paris Road to Poland Avenue.
• In a 6 – 0 vote, Councilman Lauga and several others were appointed to fill the expired terms on the St. Bernard Parish Home Mortgage Authority Board. The five other newly appointed members include Norris Dellamore, Ross Gonzales, Dan Johnson and Guy Reisse. Their terms are effective immediately and expire March 6, 2014.
• The council unanimously voted to approve a permit for the Chevron Pipeline Company, as recommended by the Coastal Zoning Advisory Committee. The permit is to approve the use of sandbags in place of concrete mats to provide sufficient cover for the 12-inch Chandeleur Pipelines.
• Council Chairman Guy McInnis, At-Large East District, recommended that residents interested in purchasing properties acquired under the Louisiana Land Trust go the parish website, www.sbpg.net, to see what properties are available. Once a property has been selected, McInnis then stated interested parties need to contact the parish Department of Housing and Redevelopment at 504.278.4468 to gain assistance with taking the next steps.
• The council made a motion to discuss the hiring of a new lobbying services firm. The council would like to advertise a Request For Proposals– documents that detail the firms’ plans for the parish, if hired. Councilman Hunnicutt, District D, an opponent of lobbying services, stated he would rather see proposals that are geared toward economic development and a vision to move St. Bernard forward, instead of lobbying plans.