AMITE — The Tangipahoa Parish Council agreed Monday to retain the services of Hammond attorney Chris Broadwater, who is exploring whether the council and parish president should pursue legal action against the company that hauled shredded tire materials to the parish landfill.
Broadwater, an attorney with the law firm of Cashe, Coudrain and Sandage, said he will begin accumulating documents related to the shredded tire controversy and will be prepared to give the council and parish president a recommendation as soon as possible. The shredded tires were hauled to the landfill by Environmental Industries Recycling of Port Allen over the past several years.
In June, the council learned the state Department of Environmental Quality had filed a notice with Parish President Gordon Burgess that the parish had improperly stored shredded tires at the landfill and that it had accumulated more of the material than was granted in state-issued permits.
The Parish Council has since hired another attorney, Beau Brock of Baton Rouge, to deal with the DEQ in seeking a settlement in the case.
DEQ’s original notification in the shredded tire matter carried with it a threat of fines of thousands of dollars a day if the matter is not satisfactorily resolved. The council was reminded Monday that Brock has filed a plan for remediation of the shredded tire matter with DEQ but the proposal will remain sealed until DEQ has given it its full consideration.
In an interview, Broadwater said his role in the case is only to advise the parish whether or not to pursue a lawsuit against Environmental Industries Recycling.
Also on Monday, the council once again discussed the possible expansion of Hospital Service District No. 2, which helps fund Hood Memorial Hospital in Amite. Hospital CEO Edward Dugar told the council he has met with Councilmen Louis Joseph, Trent Forrest and Greg Varnado and with Jim Ryan, who advises the parish on matters pertaining to bond issues and taxation districts, and that preliminary plans for an election are being formulated.
In its present configuration, the hospital district receives about $180,000 a year from property taxes. Dugar said that if voters agree to expand the district, an estimated $300,000 could be raised annually for improvements to Hood Memorial.
Council attorney Cliff Speed said those planning for the expanded district need to consult with the registrar of voters to ensure an expanded district is compatible with existing voting precincts.
At the council’s last meeting, Ryan said any election on the matter should involve only the voters in the expanded portion of the district. He reasoned that if voters in the existing district were to be given a vote, and the matter failed, then the hospital would be without the funds it now receives.