The Daily Review/Jaclyn Breaux
Berwick High School’s librarian, Kim Vasquez, left, attends Berwick’s Town Council meeting Tuesday night to support three of Berwick High School’s students as they requested a permit for the school’s homecoming parade. The council approved the permit. Students, pictured from left, are Mikah Ortiz, Winnie Mabile and Katy Lousteau.
Berwick residents hope to hear more on flood plan
BERWICK — The Town Council meeting Tuesday drew a crowd to see if there would be more discussion of plans to fix flooding in Country Club Estates Subdivision in Berwick.
A special meeting was called Sept. 4 so the council and the public could hear a proposal from Miller Engineers and Associates Inc. for a flood reduction and drainage plan for Country Club Estates Subdivision that came with a cost of $1.6 million.
At the special flood meeting, Mayor Duval Arthur told the public he was hopeful that he would be able to tell them he had the funding at the next council meeting. However, he was unable to do so.
A resident of Country Club Estates questioned Arthur on the funding.
“We are definitely working on that funding,” Arthur said.
The resident said, “You told us you would have it by this week.”
“I was hoping I would. I’m thinking by next week we will have it. I want you to know it looks real good for it, but that’s the best I can tell you until we have that approved,” Arthur responded.
The mayor was able to report some progress, however. “We have already begun moving forward with the [drainage plans]; cutting down trees on the Hogan Street ditch and we will start digging that ditch out probably next week,” Arthur said.
Flooding became a bigger issue after more than 30 homes had water in them during the June 7 flash flood.
Also Tuesday, the council granted permits to some upcoming community events.
The Lighthouse Community Church got approved to host a 5K Freedom Run on Saturday and Chez Hope was approved for their 5K run during the Lighthouse Festival Saturday, Oct. 5 at 7 a.m.
Kim Vasquez was accompanied by three sophomore students from Berwick High School to request a permit for Berwick High’s Homecoming Parade Thursday, Oct. 3, which was also granted by the council.
The council listened to reports from the police department, fire department, and public works.
The issue of garbage pick-up around Berwick was addressed with Public Works Director Rafael “Chuco” Lopez. Councilwoman Colleen Askew brought up that residents are questioning the times given for garbage pick-up.
Residents have been asked to not put their trash cans out overnight and to not set them at the road until 8 a.m. The idea is to keep bears out of them.
Councilman Kevin Hebert pointed out that “they have passed by my house at 7:15 in the morning and if mine wouldn’t have been out early, I would have missed.”
Askew added, “That’s why I brought it up, because when you say something and it’s not going to happen, then everybody wants to know why.”
Town Clerk Jamie Keith said, “If we don’t know we can give another call to Pelican and try to get the right information.” Lopez agreed.
The council was able to introduce four new ordinances.
Ordinance No. 708 allows the town to use a collection agency to collect fees or expenses for delinquent accounts. The collection agency charges a fee of 25% of the amount they are collecting.
A resident of Berwick expressed his concern with the fee: “I think the fee they charge is a bit high. I think that is putting another burden on someone who can’t pay the bill, they are profiting off of someone else’s hardship is what they are doing.”
Allen McElroy, the city attorney, said the agreement is very specific in stating not all delinquent accounts go to collections, it is at the town’s discretion for which counts they turn over. It was also explained that this applies more to people who lived in the town of Berwick, but have moved to other areas and left behind owing the town money.
The second ordinance was Ordinance No. 709, which would amend the zoning ordinance on Section 9.03 to add Wood Working and Carpentry. This allows a building in that area to become a wood working shop.
The last two ordinances were Ordinance No. 710 which was to amend the 2018-19 consolidated budget and Ordinance No. 711, which was to introduce the 2019-20 consolidated budget.
The last motion the town council approved was the 2019-20 holiday schedule, which will now give employees a holiday on their birthdays.