The Port Allen City Council will vote on spending to fix a sewer issue on two properties on Avenue B and Whitehead Boulevard, a resolution in support of the relocation of the Henry Watkins Allen statue to the West Baton Rouge Museum and appointments to the Board of Adjustments at the July 8 City Council meeting. Here’s a look at the committee discussions on those and other items addressed at the July 2 Port Allen City Council committee meetings.
The City Council will consider spending $12,700 to address a break in the sewer lines on two properties after one property owner disconnected two others from a shared line. A plumber disconnected the line to replace all terracotta sewer lines for the owner to qualify for a home loan, according to neighbors who spoke at the Port Allen City Council committee meeting.
The three properties originally belonged to one family and, like many homes built in the area approximately 60 years ago, the sewer lines were connected. The property was eventually split into three and sold to separate homeowners, though the lines remained connected. The city cannot reconnect the lines as it would be a violation of the owner’s private property rights.
Since being disconnected, the two property owners have experienced sewer backups and are no longer in compliance with the city ordinance on sewer lines, which requires each property to tie in to the city sewer system. According to the ordinance, the city is liable for tying those property owners into the line, but they are individually responsible for repairs to the line as it runs on their property. The daughter of one of the homeowners addressed the council on behalf of her parents, saying they have spent more than $4,000 on repairs since the line was originally disconnected.
The sewer line fix will require extensive work to the roadway and additional safety equipment as the lines are buried approximately eight feet. The City Council will vote on hiring Tullier Services to tie the two sewer lines to the city line for $12,700 with work set to begin the week of July 13.
Mayor Richard Lee attended Sunday’s march through Port Allen, during which organizers called for the relocation of the Henry Watkins Allen statue from Heroes Plaza across from the West Baton Rouge Parish courthouse to the West Baton Rouge Museum. The Parish Council will vote on the request for relocation at the July 9 meeting, and it is solely a Parish Council decision. However, Mayor Lee asked the City Council to consider supporting the relocation as it is located within the city and has been requested by city residents.
Clerice Lacy, one of the organizers of the march addressed the Community Development Committee asking for consideration of supporting the statue’s relocation.
“We had a lot of concerns about the statue being torn down and we just want everyone to know that is definitely not right,” Lacy said. “Tearing it down would be very vengeful. Taking it down properly is justice. And moving it to the museum is equality.”
Board of Adjustments
The City Council is one step closer to fulfilling all of the vacancies in the previously empty Board of Adjustments. Last month, the City Council approved the appointment of former Parish Councilwoman Charlene Gordon and Parish Councilman Gary Joseph (CHECK) to the board. Joseph has since declined the position, leaving three vacancies on the board. According to Chief Administrative Officer Lance Joseph, the city is working to vet new nominees to the board which will be presented at the July 8 City Council meeting.
The West Side Village Sewer Backup Relief Project is complete, Mayor Lee said. The $220,000 project by Tullier Services will relieve area residents of sewer backups that were common during large rain events for several years. The project is part of the major capital improvements plan with a budget of $330,000. The funding for the capital improvements came from a low-interest loan with a .5 percent rate the city took from the Louisiana Department of Environment about 10 years ago,
Construction is underway on bathrooms at the 14th Street park. The $75,000 project was approved by the City Council last year. Construction on bathrooms at Centennial Park across from City Hall will begin later this year, when the Mississippi River is further below flood stage, according to Mayor Lee.