LIVINGSTON - The sewer ordinance that has dominated much of the conversation at the ordinance committee is going to get a fresh pair of eyes.
In a 3-1 vote, with chairman Garry 'Frog' Talbert being the lone dissenter, the committee sent the discussion on sewer to the Master Plan group. According to councilman John Wascom, who is also a member of the Master Plan Committee, Chairman Gerald Burns stated that his group could take the proposal and run with it.
Burns believes that cleaning up sewer is part of the master plan and that his group can make something of it.
Talbert had hoped to hit reset on the ordinance, and take the proposal line-by-line and find issues to address. Eddie Aydell, author of the ordinance, was present again. Aydell works for Alvin Fairburn & Associates.
District 9 councilman Shane Mack, who missed the first two meetings with work responsibilities, focused on the funding of whatever department would be created. Mack's concern was that revenue could be an issue, and would fall on the council if deficits arose.
Initially, the ordinance had applied a $5 franchise fee per customer, per quarter to be paid by the commercial plants themselves. The idea was to fund some employees, or a department, to do inspections and enforce regulations. Those fees would be determined after the number of commercial plants was acquired from the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ).
"$5 is a placeholder," Talbert said.
Mack was also worried about those fees and fines not being paid.
Aydell stated that the ordinance had options for such cases, some of which had costs for the parish and some didn't. Those included fixing the package plant by way of the parish, and then placing a lien on the package unit; assuming control of the package unit and then charging the residents; or applying a fee until the plant comes into compliance.
"In most scenarios, one would hope you call the operator, tell him what's going on and he fixes it," Aydell said. "That way it doesn't cost anyone anything."
Mack then brought up the idea of stepping over DEQ and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Aydell confirmed that was a call of concern he's received.
Talbert suggested that any agreements made in the ordinance would have to be analyzed and approved by parish council attorney Chris Moody. Talbert did suggest that he believed local ordinances could be enforced over those state regulations, as long as they were more strict.
The ordinance never made it to that point.
Mack and Wascom both were concerned about the scope of the ordinance and whether or not it would affect individual sewer processing.
The phrase 'not about private sewer, which includes Mo-Dads and septic tanks, the ordinance is about commercial sewer plants not in compliance' was repeated several times.
Talbert also wanted to be clear that the ordinance's intention was not growth of the parish's sewer district, but compliance and regulation of current and future commercial plants. Wascom amended his original motion to say that the Master Plan Committee would focus on sewer regulation and discharge, as well as growth as part of the master plan.
That motion passed, 3-1.
The Master Plan Committee will meet at 6:30 p.m., August 4th in the parish council chambers.