Help for Baldwin sought
Councilman Craig Mathews urged St. Mary Parish leaders to “rise to the occasion” to help the Town of Baldwin survive a severe financial crisis.
“For St. Mary Parish to experience that type of unfortunate situation is not an isolated problem for an individual municipality, but a parish problem, in my opinion,” Mathews say. “We have an opportunity to be proactive, as a community, to come together and find some resources…to help overcome the hurdles they are facing in the town of Baldwin and avoid the situation from growing much worse.”
Mathews said he hopes to identify who needs to be at the table “and create some kind of joint meeting where we can begin to explore some of the immediate short term responses that we can incorporate to try to avoid a potential, very, very bad situation that the Town of Baldwin could be facing.”
He said he wanted the people of Baldwin to know that “they’re not alone.”
Parish President David Hanagriff said there have been several meetings between the parish and Mayor Donna Lanceslin. He said the situation in Baldwin is dire, such as that the town is getting water from a parish water district and accumulating a substantial debt.
Later in the meeting, Mathews moved to expand the agenda to allocate $7,000 for a summer enrichment program in the Baldwin area to be held at Raintree Elementary. The funds would come from the Dist. 1 share of Wards 1, 2, 3, 4, 7 and 10 three-tenths sales tax fund.
He said the school term will end in about 12 days and could not wait until the next parish council meeting on May 24.
Councilman Gabriel Beadle asked where the money would be allocated, and Mathews said it would be Recreation District 5.
A unanimous vote is necessary to expand the agenda. Beadle voted against, and the motion failed. The item will still be put on the next agenda.
In other business:
—Ordinances were introduced changing the domicile and date of meetings of Consolidated Drainage District 2, and declaring surplus property.
—An ordinance was adopted for zoning map changes.
—Resolutions were approved for substantial completion of the Wilson’s Boat Launch renovations; authorizing mutual aid agreements with several parishes; declaring an election for the Third Ward Court Marshal position; and authorizing an agreement with the State of Louisiana on infrastructure improvements at the Charenton Canal Industrial Park.
—Alton Broussard Jr. and Wilson Judice were reappointed to the Fire Protect District 2 board.
—Eva D. Rollins was reappointed to the Fire Protection District 11 board.