Berwick readies for high water clean-up

St. Mary Parish President Paul P. Naquin Jr. thanked the Berwick mayor and town council for the work they did in protecting Berwick and the parish from the threat of flooding during Tuesday’s council meeting.

“I would like to thank all of the citizens that helped furnish meals to our Army National Guard and candy and cakes ... and I would like to thank my man, Duval Arthur,” Naquin said.

Arthur is a Berwick councilman as well as the parish director of homeland security and emergency preparedness.

Town Superintendent Allen Benoit and town crews have begun clean-up related to the high water. They are hoping to open the Gus and Utah street floodgates for truck traffic.

“Gus Street (floodgate) is still under water about three or four inches. No one should go out there except our crews that need to clean … we had up to eight inches of sand in some areas, with debris mixed in, snakes, dead opossums, dead this and dead that,” Benoit said.

Cleco will assess the situation on the unprotected side of the floodwall today with Benoit. The assessments will begin with commercial businesses on Friday and continue throughout the weekend.

“We have to get our sewer pump going and our drainage pump going to make it safe for them and environmentally safe for them and environmentally safe for the sewer equipment,” Benoit said.

Also during the council meeting, there was a public hearing for an animals ordinance. The ordinance would require a permit for horses, mules, cattle, sheep, hogs, goats and livestock.

“Most of my children are involved in 4-H. The way I’m understanding this is that I would have six months to turn in numbers of animals kept on the property. I guess one of the issues I have with that is when you’re dealing with 4-H it’s constantly changing. What are my requirements? The kids raise rabbits, chickens, you have an assortment of different animals. Every time we get a new rabbit, we need to inform the council? Do I have to get a permit every time we replace a rabbit, or even a horse? These are some of the questions I had concerning this ordinance,” Patrick Hebert of Berwick said.

Rabbits are not counted in the ordinance the council may pass in July. To be eligible to have a horse, the landowner must have three acres of usable land, with more land required for more horses.

The council may amend the proposed ordinance to exclude animals for school projects from the permitting process. The council tabled the ordinance, and there will be a public hearing during July’s council meeting.

One ordinance was passed during the council meeting without public opposition. The ordinance is to amend M-1 zoning district to include heavy lifting, hydrostatic testing and nitrogen testing.

The council passed a millage renewal for 2011. The millage rates are 12.12 mills on property and a tax of 6 mills for “acquiring and maintaining recreation improvements, programs and facilities; acquiring and maintaining streets, roads, highways, alleys, servitudes and rights of ways; constructing, acquiring, extending, improving and maintenance of any public works or capital improvements.”

Also, the council passed a drainage fee of $25 for 2011.

The final payment for Renwick Phase IV was approved for $38,978.75 to Gray Construction and $1,808.13 to Miller Engineers.

In other news from Tuesday’s meeting:

—The Daily Review was named as the official journal.

—Council approved the Louisiana Compliance Questionnaire.

—Passed a resolution authorizing Newell “Bubba” Slaughter to certify the town’s requests for state disbursements pertaining to the Tour de Teche Canoe Race that occurred in 2010.

—Elaine Stratton from Bee Bee’s Seafood received preliminary approval for a liquor permit.

—The police report was “relatively unchanged from this month last year. All of our activity as far as with the flood went smooth. We had done some periodic checks along the waterfront in the boat. We had very little problems with people. The public worked well with us. We are going to have the road closed on Thorguson Road on the bridge. The route is going to be on Seventh to Oregon to Third to River Road,” Chief James Richard said.

—Berwick Fire Department handled “three fire calls (that) were vehicle accidents. They had a fire at the landfill again. We responded to a light post that was on fire at Tournament Boulevard. I advise everyone to check their lights. The state fire marshal issued a burn ban statewide. We are not issuing any burn permits at this time,” Chief Mike Touchet said.

St. Mary Now & Franklin Banner-Tribune

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