Hammond will fund $5 million sewer project

The City Council agreed Tuesday to proceed with raising about $5 million to fund improvements to the sewer system serving some of the oldest neighborhoods in the eastern portion of the city.

Grant Schlueter, the city’s bond attorney, said that bonds to finance the sewer system makeover will be sold through the state Department of Environmental Quality on Sept. 19.

The council can approve the final sale of the bonds at its first meeting after the sale, allowing a contract to be awarded to begin construction of the improvements. The 20-year bonds will carry an interest rate of less than 1 percent, Schlueter said.

Mayor Mayson Foster said that the bonds will be retired with sewer use fees that were approved by the council several years ago. He said that no increase in sewer rates will result from issuing the $5 million in bonds.

Other business coming before the council included:

FIRE EQUIPMENT: The council gave the Fire Department approval to purchase a $351,169 pumper, a $212,181 airport firefighting vehicle and two $30,000 utility vehicles.

Fire Chief John Thomas said that the unit for fighting fires at Hammond’s Northshore Regional Airport will give his department better equipment to use against possible chemical and fuel fires.

SUNDAY LIQUOR SALES: The council introduced and set for public hearing a proposed amendment to the city’s ordinances regarding the sale of alcoholic beverages on Sundays.

Councilman Lemar Marshall said that while the wording on the measure was vague, he agreed to go along with the other councilman in taking up the measure to be discussed in detail at a public hearing set for Sept. 10.

Dominic Cali, a employee of LeBlanc’s Grocery, said that his store is seeking the amendment to allow LeBlanc’s to sell wine on Sundays.

At present, retail outlets outside the city limits are allowed to sell certain alcoholic beverages on Sundays while those in the city cannot do so.