Baldwin residents air complaints

Baldwin citizens took up the bulk of time at Thursday’s monthly meeting of the board of aldermen.

Paul Naquin, parish president and a Sunset Street resident of Baldwin, reminded the board that his property has experienced flooding since he moved there in the early 1970s.

He said he met with Mayor Wayne Breaux and public works employees last week seeking a resolution to the longtime problem.

Naquin said adjacent properties seem to drain to his, some of which goes through a pipe that runs through his yard and under his pool.

It takes about five inches of rain to cause flooding on his property, Naquin said.

Ideas include digging a slight path for the water to flow another direction, he said. Breaux said a 15-inch line will be installed soon near the property edge, which Naquin said wouldn’t help him but would help some of his neighbors with similar problems.

Breaux asked Naquin to give the town two weeks to determine if the measures they have in mind will be effective.

Residents were also critical of the town’s recently adopted saggy pants and junk cars ordinances.

Bernadette Stewart told the board she was concerned about the removal of the cars by the town.

She asked if the car would still be considered in violation if it has a valid license plate and insurance.

Board members and the mayor said a vehicle in that circumstance would also have to be proven able to move 10 feet forward and in reverse as well.

Margaret Coleman said that abandoned cars and saggy pants “seem to be the only thing the board is concerned about” and that Baldwin has worse issues to address.

Though she said she doesn’t like the saggy pants fad that the ordinance addresses, Coleman said sometimes youngsters wear shorts under their pants, so it may not be their underwear showing.

Breaux said the board received numerous requests from the community to address the saggy pants issue.

“What is a junk car?” Coleman asked.

Alderman Thor Frederick said it is “an inoperable car that in most cases will not move unless it’s taken by a wrecker…it’s piling up and piling up like any junk, old refrigerators, old this, old that.”

Coleman said Baldwin has problems that concern her more, such as the town’s water supply. She said the water contains too much chlorine and often smells “like a sewer.”

Resident Tony Gibson added that the water is ruining the faucets in his home as well.

“It’s getting to me that you all are worrying about people wearing their pants (saggy) and we have a problem with the water,” she said.

Breaux said there is an addition to the plant, an aerator, that might help the problem. He said he is seeking grants to fund construction.

She also complained about the parks in Baldwin, including grass cutting and restrooms. Coleman said the town has been asking for a recreation center, but Baldwin built a community center instead. “If you don’t have $400 you can’t use it,” she said.

Coleman said such issues show “Baldwin is going down” and youngsters and the elderly “have no place to go” for recreation or other purposes.

Also Thursday, Breaux reported that Bayou Choupique flood protection continues to progress. The board approved an agreement with the St. Mary Parish Levee District to continue to work together toward a solution for storm surge protection in that area.

He also reported that progress on the fire substation near the U.S. 90 overpass also is continuing favorably. The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development has agreed to allow the station to be built on state property.

The board of aldermen also approved the hiring of police officers John Dunning and Joseph Brent at the request of Chief Gerald Minor.

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