NEW ROADS — The Pointe Coupee Parish Police Jury will hold a public hearing Dec. 9 on a proposal to amend its drainage maintenance fee ordinance, adding another year to the controversial fee.
The Police Jury wants to add a sunset clause to the ordinance, adopted in March 2013, that would keep the $2.50 per month drainage and maintenance fee in play until July 1, 2016.
The parish is revisiting the matter because the two-year stipulation that was supposed to be included in the ordinance when it gained majority approval from the Police Jury last year never made it on the books.
“We’re essentially adding another year,” Police Juror Kurt Jarreau complained at Monday’s Police Jury meeting. “When we approved it, the two years would have been up in August 2015. It wasn’t wrote down in ordinance, but I think everyone knew there was a two-year clause. Now we’re extending it another year?”
The drainage fee was the brainchild of jury President Melanie Bueche, who sold it as a solution to the parish’s ongoing budget shortfalls when it came to drainage repairs.
Bueche said the fee generated $176,000 in much-needed revenue in 2013 and about $235,000 so far this year.
The parish is short in revenue since New Roads Mayor Robert Myer decided in October 2013 to stop billing his residents for the monthly charge, which he called “a money grab” for the parish.
“I know this fee has not been popular around this table (but) it has helped us tremendously,” Bueche said.
She said the July 1, 2016, sunset date will give the Police Jury a chance to revisit the issue — and possibly kill the fee forever — after the 2015 parishwide elections.
Jarreau suggested sticking to the original sunset — August 2015.
“I just don’t think folks that don’t own property should be paying this fee,” he said.
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