DONALDSONVILLE — The city will negotiate with the Lafourche Basin Levee District to clean overgrown grass and trees from property along a stretch of Bayou Lafourche, with the property owners footing the bill.
The City Council voted 4-1 Tuesday to allow Mayor Leroy Sullivan Sr. to enter into an agreement with the district for a $6,000 fee, which covers fuel and mobilization of equipment.
The Lafourche Basin Levee District is responsible for maintaining levee integrity and drainage along the Lafourche Basin, which includes portions of Ascension, Assumption, St. Charles, St. James and St. John the Baptist parishes.
The area in question runs from the pumping station at the head of the bayou to the railroad crossing just south of Marchand Drive, Sullivan said.
Councilman Emile Spano, who voted against the measure, suggested that the levee district first clean its portion of the bayou, leaving local landowners to then clear overgrowth along their properties.
“If anyone should be held accountable to start with, it should be Bayou Lafourche (management) itself,” Spano said.
Council Chairman Raymond Aucoin said questions have arisen regarding property lines and who is responsible for cleaning the banks of the bayou.
“There’s a magic line that they can’t cross,” Aucoin said of the district.
City Finance Director Sandra Williams said the city could not afford to cover the $6,000 cost, adding the city’s coffers are “strapped.”
Sullivan said he approached the Bayou Lafourche Freshwater District about assisting with the work, but was told the district did not have the proper equipment to clean the banks.
To recoup the $6,000, the 23 affected landowners will be billed for work done on their property, according to the adopted motion.
Landowners who do not pay their bill, which is projected to be less than $300 per lot, would have the amount added to their 2015 property tax rolls, Sullivan said.