VACHERIE — The St. James Parish Council approved a resolution Wednesday to refinance up to $8 million in revenue bonds issued in 2008 used to construct St. James Parish Hospital in Lutcher.
St. James Parish Hospital CEO Mary Ellen Pratt said refinancing at favorable interest rates and reducing the terms of these hospital revenue refunding bonds from 25 years to 15 years would save the hospital nearly $4 million.
Refinancing “will give us some flexibility in reducing our debt,” Pratt said.
The interest rates would not exceed 8 percent, the resolution said.
Pratt said only about half of those bonds issued in 2008 are being refinanced.
The Parish Council had to approve the refinancing and bond issuance for the matter to go to the state Bond Commission because the Parish Council appoints the hospital’s board of commissioners.
In other business, parish Assistant Director of Operations Blaise Gravois told the Parish Council the eight informational meetings held throughout the parish to familiarize residents with the comprehensive master plan have concluded.
Attorney Victor J. Franckiewicz Jr. said the Parish Council now must approve the comprehensive master plan, then adopt an ordinance making the plan the law.
Public hearings must be held in Convent and Vacherie for both steps of the implementation, but Franckiewicz estimated the Parish Council could adopt the ordinance at the first Parish Council meeting in April.
The plan was finalized and released to the public in March 2011 by a 19-member St. James Parish Comprehensive Plan Steering Committee after months of public meetings and hearings .
The proposed master plan seeks to direct the parish’s growth over the next two decades by encouraging economic development and improving infrastructure, reducing land use conflicts between residents and industry, promoting affordable housing and preserving historic sites, Gravois has said.
Also Wednesday, Sam Stines, assistant general manager with Mosquito Control Services, the company contracted with the parish to kill nuisance mosquitoes, said his company could start spraying for mosquitoes in March.
Stines said the company will evaluate the weather on a weekly basis starting next month to determine if it is warm enough to spray. If the temperature drops below 55 degrees, the chemicals in the spray break down and don’t work as well, Stines said.
Councilman Ken Brass asked Stines to speak to the Parish Council after several constituents wondered when the mosquito spray trucks would be coming by.
The $308,000 program is funded by a monthly $3 water meter connection fee and with savings from the reduction in the parish’s contract with its solid waste collection provider, Waste Management of Louisiana.