Parish Council introduces ordinance for Shintech expansion

PETER SILAS PASQUA ppasqua@postsouth.com

PLAQUEMINE - Iberville Parish President J. Mitchell Ourso Jr. reported at the Parish Council's January meeting that Shintech Louisiana LLC has plans for a $1.5 billion expansion.

The expansion will require an amendment to an ordinance that will modify the boundaries of the industrial area.

Ourso said the company has purchased nearly 2,600 acres of agriculture property surrounding its current site with plans to expand once it is included in the Shintech Louisiana LLC Industrial Area.

"We have to support it," Ourso said. "I have to support it because it is good for the parish. They have spent $2 billion in our parish."

The council introduced the ordinance but did not act on it. A public hearing on the matter will held at the next regular council meeting Feb. 18.

In other news, Matthew H. Jewell was re-elected council chairman and Warren "T-Notchie" Taylor was selected vice-chairman.

"We have come a long way and we are going to move forward," Jewell said.

The council also introduced an ordinance regulating the types of culverts installed in public drainage ditches.

"We have always prided ourselves in taking care of our people but the culverts are rotting out quicker and quicker and causing big problems," Ourso said.

Ourso said galvanized culverts property owners purchase that the parish installs are corroding within 10 years and must be replaced. The ordinance requires coated corrugated metal culverts.

"We are changing them out hands over fist," Ourso said. "They are $300 more but in the long run, the parish won't have to replace them.

Ourso also reported that bids were received for a project to replace the Musson Lane bridge near Maringouin with the lowest coming in at $600,000.

"I am scared if we hold up too long, the contractor won't hold the price and it might be a budget buster," Ourso said. "The bridge holds a big liability to the parish in the condition it is in now."

The parish budgeted $800,000 for the project, Ourso said.

Ourso also said "there is progress being made" concerning a boat launch on Bayou Pigeon.

A sewer line project on Barrow Street was also asked about but Ourso said it must be reapplied through the Department of Health and Hospitals.

"We let the project expire," Ourso said.

Ourso also reported EuroChem, another industrial operation, is closing on property in the Carville area but "still looking at other viable options."

The traffic signal at the corner of Belleview Road and Enterprise Blvd. has also been installed, Ourso said. A total of 43 accidents occurred at the intersection before the installation.

"It didn't come cheap," Ourso said.

The parish funded $60,000 for the signal that was installed by the state.

Also, the 40-year-old Carl F. Grant Civic Center will get a new air conditioner at the price of $200,000, according to Ourso.

"The biggest issue is the AC system but we want to make sure it doesn't interfere with Mardi Gras balls," Ourso said.

Finally, Councilman Louis "Pete" Kelley requested a "sagging pants" ordinance be revisited. Several Louisiana municipalities have drawn laws restricting the act.

"When I drove up, I saw a lot of sagging pants," Kelley said.

Councilman Salaris Butler said there were legal issues regarding the ordinance when it was brought up before.