Posted: Feb 23, 2010 4:23 PM by Chris Nakamoto
Updated: Feb 23, 2010 8:38 PM
The City of Zachary wants to break away from East Baton Rouge Parish's sewer infrastructure. Councilman Randall Bouley believes the city is paying for sewer fees that aren't addressing the immediate needs in the city.
"The pipes that the city of Zachary own will not be fixed by money collected and paid to the parish," Bouley said. "The parish can only fix their infrastructure."
The controversy stems over money and an agreement Zachary leaders signed with the parish 25 years ago. It stated sewer fees collected by residents would cover maintenance for the parish's sewer needs.
Right now, East Baton Rouge Parish is paying off $400 million worth of bonds for sewer repairs. The money collected as "sewer fees" from Zachary residents, helps to pay those bonds off. Parish leaders argue, if Zachary breaks away, it will be left with a massive deficit causing problems paying back the bonds.
"They have us handcuffed forever," Bouley said. "If their opinion is that we can never get out of the impact structure, then our future is forever tied in their hands."
Bouley said all of the pipes running through Zachary need to be replaced. He estimated it would cost at least $10 million.
Currently, residents pay about $30 in sewer fees. All of that money goes back to East Baton Rouge Parish.
Bouley told News 2 if the city isn't freed from the agreement he plans to take this issue to court.
A meeting about this sewer fight will be held on March 27 at the Zachary Public Library.