LEPA land deal is almost complete

By: GEOFFREY STOUTE
MORGAN CITY — A lease for the Louisiana Energy and Power Authority’s proposed power plant in Morgan City has been negotiated with the Young Foundation, and an environmental review has been completed.

Morgan City Mayor Tim Matte delivered the news to the council on Tuesday, explaining that only paperwork for the review needed to be signed.

The review was necessary because LEPA wanted a baseline of the current state of the property, so if the lease ever was terminated, it would have a baseline of what work it needed to complete to restore the property to its current state.

The site of the facility will be on Youngs Road on the west side of the Atchafalaya Bit and Bridle Club’s arena.

The lease options provide for a contract with LEPA for the land through about 2105.

Initially, it includes a two-year, three-month lease, an interim period that will get LEPA to construction, then a 30-year primary term and options for extensions that would follow.

During Tuesday’s meeting, the city council also approved a resolution authorizing the city to provide effluent water to LEPA.

The power plant could require up to 500,000 gallons of water per day for use in its cooling towers and will receive that water from the city’s Wastewater Treatment Facility.

The city will continue to fund costs of processing the wastewater and LEPA will pay for any modifications required to the Wastewater Treatment Facility to accommodate this water as well as for work to lay piping and other work in the rights of way to channel the effluent water.

LEPA will fund costs associated with maintenance of these two areas, also.

On Sept. 16, the LEPA Board of Directors passed the resolution the city council agreed to on Tuesday.

All LEPA board members who have signed on to the project passed it except St. Martinville, who was absent from the meeting, and Morgan City, who abstained from voting.

Matte said there is no cost to the city, or if there is a cost, LEPA will reimburse the city for it.

The effluent water that will be reused in the plant currently is being discharged into the Atchafalaya River.

Now, it will be used through the new plant and whatever is not consumed or evaporated will be discharged.

LEPA now will turn its attention to design of the power plant.

In another property matter nearby, the council authorized the city to enter into negotiations for a lease with the H&B Young Foundation in which the U.S. Coast Guard would be added as a subleasee for the city and would maintain Youngs Park primarily as its compensation.

Matte said that the city’s lease had expired with the Young Foundation for the park, and the city was maintaining a month-to-month lease with the Young Foundation so it could restore the property to its original state, as part of the original terms of the agreement.

However, the U.S. Coast Guard approached the city and said they would be willing to maintain the park and complete general maintenance work, while also using it for its physical training as well as family days and recreation.

The Coast Guard said they would make the park available for the public, too.

Keeping the lease will cost the city nearly $8,900 annually.

St. Mary Now & Franklin Banner-Tribune

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