HAMMOND — City government and Tangipahoa Crime Stoppers are offering a $500 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of anyone responsible for thefts of municipal drainage grates and manhole covers.

Mayor Mayson Foster and Councilman Robert “Bobby” Martin jointly announced the reward initiative at the City Council’s Tuesday meeting.

Foster said 36 grates have been stolen recently by scrap metal sellers and that the rash of thefts was creating a safety hazard.

Foster said that the grates cost between $95 and $125 each, depending on the size, and that manhole covers are even more expensive.

The mayor said that the city has had to place barricades around locations where grates are missing until new ones can be obtained so that pedestrians do not fall into the voids.

Welding the grates in place is not an option, Foster said, because this presents other problems for the city, particularly when drains have to be cleaned by city crews.

Other matters taken up by the council included:

NORTHSHORE PACT: The council agreed to spend $10,000 to match a grant request sought by the Northshore Region Sustainable Communities Partnership. City grant writer Lacy Landrum said the money would help pay for a comprehensive plan for future growth in the Northshore region. 

Foster said joining the Northshore Partnership would present an excellent opportunity to fully develop the Interstate 12 corridor. He said that the partnership would focus on transportation systems which are critical to the region.

GRANT PROGRAMS: The council agreed to seek grants for three proposed projects:

• One grant request seeks $169,560 from the federal Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program to purchase equipment and “turnout” gear for firefighters. If awarded, the city would provide an $18,840 matching grant.

• The city will seek a grant of $9,792 from the state’s Healthy Communities Grant program for promoting litter reduction, recycling and greater environmental awareness.

• The third request is for a $22,000 grant from the state’s Local Government Assistance Program to purchase and install a backup generator at a city lift station. The city would provide $8,000 in matching funds it obtains the grant.