New Roads mayor rejects police juror’s request for restitution

Mayor Robert Myer on Tuesday night shot down Pointe Coupee Police Juror Cornell Dukes’ request for $1,500 in restitution because sewage flooded one of his rental properties in January.

Dukes said he spent $1,500 to replace a bathtub and several walls at 618 Coretta Drive in New Roads after raw sewage backed up into the home during some heavy rainfall.

“Most of us know how bad sewage back-up can be,” Dukes told the City Council. “I had to evacuate the residents at the home and start repairing it.”

Dukes earlier publicly blamed the backup on alleged city pumping station malfunctions.

Dukes said that when he approached Myer about the issue, the mayor sent him a letter saying city was not liable for the damage and that, “if I don’t have insurance I’m basically on my own.

“I don’t believe no one on Coretta Drive should have fees collected on them and at the end of the day they are on their own,” Dukes said.

Myer responded that Dukes had no claim against the city because state law does not obligate the city to pay for repairs to damage such as Dukes had cited.

Myer, reading from a statement, advised Dukes that New Roads’ municipal pumping stations were all working fine during the heavy rainfall events and had nothing to do with backed-up sewer lines at the residence.

Myer also told Dukes that his rental property alone among 263 in the vicinity had experienced sewage issues.

“I take this very seriously,” Myer said. “We spent approximately $1.6 million on sewer upgrades in the last 25 months, that’s more than the city ever has in the last 10 years.

“Our sewer lines are not defective,” Myer said, “you have no way of proving your lines were defective.”

The mayor added that if Dukes would like to hire some engineers to see if the city is at fault, then he should go right ahead.