HAMMOND — The City Council unanimously approved an ordinance Tuesday to issue $5 million in sewer revenue bonds to improve the sewer system that now serves some of the oldest neighborhoods in the city.
Bonding attorney Grant Schlueter told the council he anticipates getting final approval for the bond sale from the state Bonding Commission on Thursday and that the bonds will be sold no later than early November.
The low-interest, 30-year bonds will be retired with funds from the sewer usage fee now levied by the city on the users of its sewer and water systems.
In asking the council to approve the bond measure at an earlier meeting, Mayor Mayson Foster pointed out that the old sewer system has been in need of extensive repair for more than a decade. Foster said at the time that funds were just not available previously to make the improvements.
Much of that system includes clay pipes that have deteriorated since their installation many years ago, Foster said. When the city experiences heavy rain storms, water seeps into the leaking sewer pipes, causing problems throughout the system, Foster said. Excess water seeping into the old sewer lines place a strain on the city’s sewer treatment plant, Foster said.
Civil engineer Kiley Bates of Spangler Engineering, the firm that will manage the project, said that rehabilitation of the sewer system will take about a year. Bates said work will begin shortly after the bonds are sold. He explained that while some streets will have to be closed briefly for construction work, most of the repairs will be made from “manhole to manhole” with little disruption of thoroughfares that are in the city’s main business corridor
In other business Tuesday, the council also:
AIRPORT STAGING SITE: The council unanimously approved a resolution authorizing Foster to enter into a cooperative endeavor agreement with the U.S. Military Department, the state of Louisiana and Hammond Northshore Regional Airport. Airport Director Jason Ball said the agreement spells out the role the airport will play in the event of an emergency. Ball said the airport has received requests from various military and emergency service agencies about use of its facilities during critical situations such as severe storms. The agreement allows for the airport to be used as a staging area for vehicles and personnel from governmental agencies serving during a disaster.
GRANT RECEIVED: City grants Director Lacy Landrum told the council that Hammond won a $93,240 Rural Access to Emergency Devices grant for the purchase of 72 external electronic defibrillators that will be placed in public buildings throughout Tangipahoa Parish. Landrum said this is the second such grant awarded to the city in the past two years.
NEIGHBORHOOD TO GET PLAYGROUND: Landrum announced that the city has been given a $20,000 grant to construct a playground in the Lincoln Park neighborhood, which is now without any recreational facilities. The city will match the grant. The park will include, according to Landrum, state of the art playground equipment. Landrum said that a Community Builds Day is planned for assembly of the playground equipment.