HAMMOND — The City Council honored Mayson Foster for his dozen years as mayor on Tuesday, the last meeting Foster will attend as mayor.
“This is a token of the respect and love we have for you,” Council President Bobby Martin said. “We are grateful for all the progress that Hammond has made during your years of service.”
Foster thanked the council and asked for its support and assistance for the new mayor, Pete Panepinto, who will be sworn into office in early January.
The city’s charter limits a mayor’s time in office to three four-year terms.
Also on Tuesday, the council gave its final approval to a resolution authorizing Foster, on behalf of the city, to accept a $1 million Louisiana Community Block Grant to finance construction of an oxidation ditch for pretreatment of sewage at the city’s Wastewater Treatment Plant on Fagan Drive.
The treatment plant has been a source of noxious odors for a number of years.
The city will dedicate $333,540 to match the state grant.
The council also learned Tuesday that Hammond won a $150,000 Career Pathways Program grant from the Delta Regional Authority, an entity that funds programs throughout a number of Southern states.
Charles Borchers, an assistant in the city’s Grants Department, said the funds will be used for a pilot program directed at junior and senior high school students at Hammond High Magnet School who are not interested in pursuing a college degree but are anxious to find employment when they finish high school.
Borchers said Hammond High will work with the Northshore Technical Community College in Hammond to secure instruction for fields such as welding and electronics. In its initial stage, the program will focus on Hammond High students but that could be expand to other students in Tangipahoa Parish, he said.
In other action, the council, on a split vote, tabled the proposed nomination of local real estate developer Sam DiVittorio to the Hammond Housing Authority. Foster had submitted DiVittorio’s name to the council for its approval.
However, Martin and councilmen Lemar Marshall and Johnny Blount said they received a telephone call from housing authority director Delores Tillman, who had some questions about DiVittorio serving on the board because as a real state developer some conflicts of interest could arise. Foster said Tillman has no right to question the appointment and she has to accept the person nominated by the mayor and approved by the council.
Marshall, with the votes of Blount and Martin, tabled the matter. Councilmen Mike Williams and Jason Hood voted “no” to the tabling.