LIVINGSTON — The Livingston Parish Council took the first step Thursday night toward merging two sewer districts that cover most of the western half of the parish — a move that ultimately could lead to a parishwide sewer system.
Sewer districts 1 and 2 already operate like a single sewer system, said Councilman Garry Talbert, of Watson, who proposed the merger.
Sewer District 2 owns the plant and employs the workers, while Sewer District 1 has only customers, Talbert said. District 1 pays a $16 monthly fee per customer to District 2 for use of that district’s system.
The districts’ governing boards — each with five members — also meet on the same night, at the same time, in the same location, Talbert said.
“In talking to the bond people, it would make more sense if we just had one district,” Talbert said. “District 2 has more money and is more financially stable, so District 1’s bond rates are higher.”
Jim Ryan, the parish’s financial adviser, agreed that a merger would be financially beneficial because it would reduce bond commission fees and improve the district’s finance rates.
“It’s a waste of time and money” maintaining two districts, Ryan said.
The merger also would save the districts from having to keep two sets of financial records and would create other administrative efficiencies, Talbert said.
On Talbert’s motion, the Parish Council unanimously adopted a resolution declaring its intent to merge the two districts. The council also agreed to introduce an ordinance that would expand the boundaries of District 2 to include all of District 1, as a first step toward the merger.
The merger itself will require a vote of the people, Talbert said.
“This isn’t going to be a quick process,” he said. “Hopefully it will happen sometime this year, but this is the first step in the process.”
Talbert said if voters approve the merger, the pair of five-member boards likely would be reduced to a single seven-member board, whose members would be selected by the seven councilmen whose districts are included in the sewer district.