The Ascension Parish Council on Thursday moved forward with two funding issues for drainage services on the parish’s west bank.
But the funding rests on whether voters on May 2 decide to renew a 4.7-mill property tax to fund West Ascension Drainage District operations for the next decade.
On Thursday, the council agreed to seek state Bond Commission approval for $450,000 in bonded debt, to be repaid by the tax revenues, to fund a west bank drainage project and for construction of a new public works building for the area.
Each measure passed with an 8-0 vote. Councilmen Chris Loar and Benny Johnson were absent from the meeting, and council Chairman Randy Clouatre only votes to break a tie.
Parish financial adviser Jim Ryan told the council the tax renewal is vital to fund repayment of the bonds.
“If they don’t have the tax, they can’t borrow the money,” Ryan said.
Councilman Oliver Joseph, who represents part of the west bank and also serves on the West Ascension drainage board, said the property tax revenues fund much-needed equipment and projects for the area.
“We’ve been having some flooding issues on the west bank that includes the area through St. James Parish,” Joseph said. “We’re looking to drain Bayou Napoleon and Bayou Verret. This will fund that work.”
Councilman Kent Schexnaydre said the parish has worked for years to construct a public works building for the area, which he also represents on the council and drainage district board.
“It’s always come in way over what the funds were,” Schexnaydre said of the project.