AMITE — The Tangipahoa Parish Council Monday voted unanimously to award a $4.8 million contract to Bertucci Contracting Co. of Metairie to construct a stone breakwater designed to halt coastal erosion in the extreme northwestern corner of Lake Pontchartrain.
Parish engineer Maurice Jordan said a 10,000-linear-foot wall can be constructed from an area just west of the mouth of the Tangipahoa River toward Pass Manchac, which empties into Lake Pontchartrain. The total distance from the river to the pass was about 18,000 linear feet but the federal Coastal Impact Protection Agency grant for the breakwater could not cover it, he said.
The parish engineer explained that the stone wall will be about 30 feet wide at its base and eight feet wide at its peak above the water. The contractor will bring the stone from out of state to the site using either barge or rail service to the nearby Port of Manchac and the material will then be barged to the construction site. Work should begin in 30 to 45 days and Bertucci has about a year to finish it.
Other items discussed during the meeting included:
RAIL CROSSINGS: The council voted to make a formal request that the state Department of Transportation and Development not follow through with plans to close the Babb Street railroad crossing in the Village of Tangipahoa.
MILLAGE RATES: The council voted unanimously to “roll forward” existing millage rates that support such things as the rural fire protection districts, the library, general parish-wide services, the parish Health Unit, and a garbage district. Finance Director Jeff McKneely said millage rates supporting six different road lighting districts will be lowered.
After a reassessment, millages are automatically rolled back so the taxing agencies receive the same amount of money as the year before, despite increases in property values. But with a two-thirds vote of the governing board, the taxing agencies can roll forward the millage to the previous rate and receive the additional tax revenue, according to the state constitution.
DEBRIS REMOVAL: The council gave Parish President Gordon Burgess approval to enter into a contract with DRC Corp. of Mobile, Ala., to provide debris removal in the event of a disaster such as a hurricane.
McKneely said the council would deal directly with DRC and then seek state and federal assistance in paying for the debris collection.