ST. FRANCISVILLE — The Board of Aldermen agreed at its Tuesday meeting to explore options for funding a new water well that will be built adjacent to a now-closed well.
The new well will replace an existing well, located just off Prosperity Street that is used by the town, primarily as a backup.
Bianca Hillhouse, of Professional Engineering Consultants, who has been providing guidance for the town on the project, said there is an issue with the 50-foot radius necessary between the old well and the new well, according to state regulations. Adjacent property belongs to the West Feliciana Parish School Board, she said, and the town should discuss an easement to satisfy the state requirement with School Board officials.
She estimated the total cost for construction of a new well at roughly $800,000. The aim is for the new well to have the same 1,100 gallons-per-minute capacity as the old well.
Dan MacDonald, a program engineer with the Department of Health and Hospitals, presented a loan package proposal to the council. But to qualify for a loan, he said, the town would need to put together a comprehensive plan for the entire water system.
“The idea is to make the water system productive and safe for the next 20 years,” he said.
MacDonald also said the U.S. Department of Agriculture offers loans for 40 years, but they take a long time to secure, sometimes up to two years. The DHH loan is a 13-month process on average, with a best-case scenario of six months for emergencies, he said.
Mayor Billy D’Aquilla said he is working with state Sen. Neil Riser to possibly obtain emergency funding of up to $700,000 that could go toward the well project. Hillhouse said up to $35,000 may be available for the town’s use from a Clean Water Emergency Fund. D’Aquilla said he’ll have more information at the next meeting Oct. 13.
The board also approved David Patterson, of LandSource, to conduct a site survey of the well location to determine how much easement will be needed.
In other action, the board heard a report from Kim Marousek, of the Capital Region Planning Commission, about ideas for improving traffic issues on Royal Street. She will present her plan based on her findings in the near future.
The aldermen also approved an ordinance that pertains to permitting for mobile food vendors, or food trucks, at the town’s special events and festivals.