West Baton Rouge consolidates water systems

The West Baton Rouge Parish Council voted unanimously Thursday night to absorb Water District 2 into the parish water system.

Parish President Riley “Peewee” Berthelot said the directors of Water District 2, which serves part of Brusly and Addis, had been thoroughly briefed on the proposed merger and were in full agreement with the move.

Berthelot said the state Department of Health and Hospitals had encouraged the consolidation because the parish water wells are located in the northern part of the parish and serve many customers south of a fault line near the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway.

Berthelot said the final consolidation will become effective July 1. Under the new arrangement, West Baton Rouge Parish will be responsible for maintaining the water supply for the entire parish except for Port Allen and the Port of Baton Rouge.

Other business coming before the council included:

MOUCH ARENA: The council approved a change in the rental fees of the Louis Mouch Multi-Purpose Facility in Port Allen to correct an error in the fee schedule when the rates were set nearly two years ago.

The arena is used mainly for livestock events, barrel racing, rodeos, truck shows and concerts, Berthelot said.

Berthelot said the fee for a livestock event, excluding rodeos, should be the greater of $400 for a single day rental or 10 percent of the gross receipts. For rodeos and other non-livestock events, Berthelot said the fee should be $600 for the first four hours and $200 per hour for additional hours or 10 percent of the gross receipts.

The council approved the change and instructed Berthelot to provide fee collection records to monitor how many times the parish collects the flat fee or the 10 percent share of the gross receipts.

EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT: The council authorized advertising for a consulting firm to recommend improvements in the parish’s emergency management plan.

Berthelot said the parish received an emergency management performance grant funded through the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness to upgrade its crisis plan.

LIBRARY VAN: The council accepted a $42,380 bid from Alliance Bus Group of Slidell for purchase of a Ford Versa Shuttle high-top van.

Parish Library Director Beth Vandersteen told the council the vehicle will be used to transport staff, books, equipment and programming material to schools, preschools and community centers throughout the parish.