Sorrento approves garbage rate increase

The Town Council on Tuesday approved a rate increase for the town’s garbage collection provider and added two officers to the town’s Police Department.

Karla Swacker, of Allied Waste Services, asked the Town Council to consider increasing the per household monthly collection fee from $18.48 to $18.86 to cover the rising cost of diesel fuel and other charges.

Council members Patti Poche, Marvin Martin, Wanda Bourgeois, Randy Anny and Don Schexnaydre agreed to accept Swacker’s proposal and discuss at a later time other administrative costs associated with the town’s distribution of garbage collection bills.

Other Town Council decisions Tuesday involved:

NEW POLICE OFFICER: The Town Council agreed to hire Dan Hirsch as a full-time police officer and Jack Stevens as an unpaid reserve police officer.

“I think he’d be a good asset to the town of Sorrento’s Police Department,” Police Chief Earl Theriot said of adding Hirsch to the force.

Hirsch, a former deputy with the Orleans Parish Sheriff’s Office who has more than 20 years of law enforcement experience, starts Wednesday and brings the number of full-time police officers to five, Theriot said.

PLANNING AND ZONING: The Town Council reappointed Brent Alonzo to another four-year term on the town’s Planning and Zoning Board.

AUDIT: The Town Council also agreed to hire Postlewaite and Netterville to audit the town’s fiscal year 2013 budget for a sum between $11,000 and $13,000.

aerial photography: The Town Council agreed to consider a request by Ascension Parish Assessor M.J. “Mert” Smiley Jr. to give his office $2,000 to go toward the cost of aerial photography technology to help identify unmarked properties in the parish that are not currently taxed.

The aerial photography technology would turn a six-year project with on-the-ground employees into one that could be completed by next summer and net Sorrento $8,749 in additional property tax revenue during the first year, Smiley said.

The Ascension Parish Sheriff’s Office has committed to donating $50,000 and the Ascension Parish School Board plans to give $235,000 with the understanding that both offices will financially benefit from the project as the Assessor’s Office finds more taxable properties, Smiley said.

Mayor Mike Lambert asked Smiley to send a contract to his office and Smiley said he would.

OTHER ISSUES: The Town Council decided to table until its Aug. 6 meeting several other issues including the introduction of an ordinance setting the town clerk’s salary, acting on an engagement letter to set the town attorney’s hourly rates and discussing giving town maintenance chief Cornelius Morris a new title.