Council takes step toward parish-wide sewer system
GONZALES - The Ascension Parish Council moved toward creating a parish-wide sewer system Tuesday night.
After a lot of back and forth between council members, the majority supported the plan. Now, the council will move forward with a sole proposal for a public-private partnership.
Parish leaders said the idea is a long time coming. Other opportunities have come before the council but never materialized.
"In my opinion this is a very doable plan for us to enter into a public-private partnership," said councilman Daniel Satterlee. "The time for modern sewer, ladies and gentlemen, in Ascension parish has come."
Those opposed to the project are worried it will cost homeowners too much. Some are also concerned other potential bidders asked for more time to submit an offer but an extension was not granted.
"I believe I owe it to my constituents to require that there be a second proposal," said Teri Casso. "However many it takes to get the right one."
Casso along with other council members Todd Lambert and Bryan Melancon were the three "no" votes.
Chief Administrative Officer Ken Dawson said following Tuesday's vote, the parish administration will try to negotiate a contract. If an agreement is made, because there are private systems that have to be acquired, those will go before the Public Service Commission.
There are currently three different types of sewage systems in Ascension Parish - a system within a subdivision that takes care of sewage for 30-100 homes, an individual home treatment system and septic tanks. All three of those have to be integrated under the parish system to provide better sewer treatment.
"Not doing it can't be an option," said Dawson. "We have to get this done."
Dawson estimates the project will cost $300-$500 million.