Consolidation plan put on hold by PC

Consolidation of Consolidated Gravity Drainage Dist. 2 and Gravity Drainage Dist. No. 6 was tabled by the St. Mary Parish Council this week.
An ordinance up for adoption to create Consolidated Gravity Drainage District No. 2A was set aside on motion of Councilmen James Bennett and Mark Duhon.
Parish President David Hanagriff said there is much “misinformation” circulating regarding the consolidation. He told the audience, many of which were there because of the ordinance, that he would “meet with you at any time, any place” to discuss the matter.
Also Wednesday, Chief Administrative Officer Henry “Bo” LaGrange reported that in correspondence Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development Secretary Shawn D. Wilson pledged to be accessible to local government as necessary. Wilson noted that he has added a new staff member to work with local governments.
LaGrange also attended the Coastal Wetlands Protection Planning and Restoration meeting in Morgan City, where projects were nominated for priority projects. None were in St. Mary.
He also gave updates on road projects in the parish and sewer upgrades in the Sorrell- Four Corners area.
Councilman Rodney Olander asked if there had been any progress in meeting with Cox representatives regarding concerns in the rural areas of west St. Mary. A rep replied and suggested a personal meeting, Councilman Craig Mathews said, but said he expected a session with the council.
Olander said the need for fiber optic transmission is great in the parish, and it could impede economic development.
Mathews said a federal broadband infrastructure program is in effect that may be helpful, and said the broadband issue should be a priority.
There is an app available for cell phones, Olander said, that is free and can measure signal strength, that is then sent and monitored by the FCC. “That’s how the decide who gets the money, which area, to upgrade,” he said.
Council member Kristi Prejeant Rink, MD, added that the National Association of Counties is also involved with the testing app. “We need other avenues to get broadband coverage that’s appropriate for this area,” she said.
In other business:
—Ordinances were passed for bond purchase agreements.
—Appointments were made to Fire Protection Dist. 1, Dickey Arnold; Mosquito Dist. 1, Dawn Schouest and Shirley B. Thibodaux; Fire Dist. 11, Linda Lockett.
—Mathews was approved an allocation of $7,500 from the Wards 1, 2, 3, 4, 7 and 10 sales tax for Recreation Dist. 5 maintenance and exterior cleaning.

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