Hammond council transfers funds for sewer system work

The City Council voted to seek bids for sewer improvements in the city’s Greenlawn area, where residents have complained about sewage backups in their homes.

City Engineer Chuck Spangler asked the council to transfer $88,000 from other city accounts into a special budget to move the sewer improvements forward. Coupled with $75,000 in budgeted funds, Hammond will have $163,000 to pay for work to correct the problems.

Once the contract for the work is awarded, Spangler said, experts will investigate the lines, clear them of roots and other possible obstructions, then reline the pipes.

“This should solve the problem and give these people some relief from a persistent problem,” Spangler said.

The city is in the midst of an extensive sewer improvement project in the older part of the city. The work, funded by a $5 million bond issue, will help solve the problem of rainwater entering the old sewer lines through cracks and breaks and overburdening the system.

Also Tuesday, Public Works Director Buddy Ridgel told council members that a pilot garbage collection system tried on Hooks Drive got an enthusiastic reception from residents.

The pilot program used 90-gallon containers for once-a-week-pickup and did not pose a problem, Ridgel said. Garbage is picked up in Hammond on a twice-a-week basis.

Ridgel suggested the council look at the Hooks Drive approach of once-a-week collections when it considers a new contract for garbage pickup later this year.

Councilman Lemar Marshall said he monitored the pilot program closely. He said there was less litter left on the street because of standardized, closed trash cans, furnished by the garbage collection company, used on Hooks Drive.

Hammond has no garbage container standards, and residents are free to use containers of their choice, Marshall noted, adding many aren’t covered, which results in trash spilling out.

“The reaction to the pilot program was very positive and was very well-received. …This is something the council might well look at in the future,” Ridgel said.

In other news, Mayor Mason Foster announced that a Community Build Program will be conducted Friday and Saturday in the Lincoln Park neighborhood. The city will build a playground for around $53,000, utilizing volunteers.

The Ka Boom Foundation is funding part of the cost of the equipment with a $20,000 grant, and the grant stipulates that playground equipment must be assembled with volunteer workers, Landrum said.

“Historically, Lincoln Park is a neighborhood with low resources,” said Marshall, who represents the area. “They have never had a playground there, so this is an historic event. We encourage all who have the time to come out and help us with this special event.”