Not in office yet, newly-elected Ascension president busy with parish issues
ASCENSION PARISH – The recently-elected Ascension Parish president hasn't taken office yet, and he's already being hit with some big issues. The Ascension Parish Council is considering to sign the largest contract in parish history to improve sewage.
“I wasn't aware that the sewer deal would come down to a vote prior to me taking office,” Cointment said. “I just received the document on Nov. 7.”
The 30-year contract would consolidate sewer services for thousands of homes. It would allow a business partnership to build and run and new sewer system along the Mississippi River. The change would increase rates for homeowners at an average of $10 per month.
“In my opinion, we're moving way too fast in this negotiation,” Cointment said.
The contract is on Thursday night’s parish council meeting agenda. Cointment is asking the members to hold off on a vote.
“Signing the document today would be the most destructive legislative act in Ascension Parishes history,” Cointment said. “Due to the language in the termination clause and due to the language on how this deal could be leveraged, and the district has no say. This could essentially bankrupt the parish if approved as written."
This isn't the only matter Cointment is focusing on. Starting later this week, Cointment will begin the process of deciding who will be on his administration. A transition team will begin meeting with current department directors in the coming days.
“They'll look at the budget, they'll ask how we can improve and what's the employee morale,” Cointment said. “They'll be doing all the things necessary to move forward in a positive direction.”
Work is coming at him fast. Cointment plans to make hiring decisions in a couple of months. He will officially take office on Jan. 7. The current Ascension Parish president, Kenny Matassa, did not run for another term.