August sales tax collections, reported at roughly $700,000, surpassed the $650,000 budget amount for the second month in a row. Additionally, city accountant Gene Chiarulli reported the unexpected receipt of roughly $200,000 from school board tax revenues, following a recent audit of parish school tax collections.
St. Martin Parish Constable David Dugas made a request of the council that could further increase city revenues. Dugas wants to buy retired police vehicles due to substantially lower insurance coverage premiums available for a local direct purchase. He said he was quoted higher insurance premium rates for used vehicles available through the state’s used equipment warehouse purchase program.
City attorney Don Landry read a state attorney general’s opinion noting that constable offices are not a political subdivision of a municipality. Thus they fall outside of the scope covered by current state or government jurisdiction regarding purchases through government bid processes.
“It can be done if fair market value is observed in negotiations,” offered Landry about used vehicle transactions.
The council agreed that retired Broussard police vehicles should be stripped of specialty equipment prior to making them available for purchase. According to Councilman Johnnie Foco, the St. Martin constable’s office will be contacted regarding vehicles becoming available for purchase negotiations.
A local attorney, Bob Bose, presented zoning maps for the new Ambassador Caffery extension with completed documents for establishing a general industrial corridor in designated areas. The council approved the designation.
Bose also recommended the resolution for commercial rezoning of properties for Ensco and Nalco. With Councilman Foco abstaining, the council approved the zoning.
Homeowner Eugene Botts also tested the new zoning process with a request for an easement variance for a building permit. Backed by a design and city maintenance staff support, the request re slab placement relative to city drainage pipes was approved.
City engineers reported progress on road construction and water treatment projects. Seven bid packets have already been obtained for the proposed new water treatment system area engineered by Mark Savoie. The deadline is Oct. 18. Other treatment ponds are on schedule and budget for completion in October due to good weather.
The council also approved extension of the Lakeview Drive project engineered by Walter Comeaux III to include more paved public access along the route.