Gustav delays city projects, budget amendment shows

Deidre Cruse

The Plaquemine Board of Selectmen last week finalized the city’s 2007-08 budget with an amendment reducing it from $5.8 million to $5.6 million, budget manager Laurie Berthelot said.

“Ninety-five percent is hurricane-related,” Berthelot said of the amendment to the budget.

The decrease mainly reflects grant-funded projects that the city was unable to complete during the budget year because of the hurricane, Berthelot said. They included a pedestrian bridge at Waterfront Park, a downtown development project to improve the city’s north entrance and a spray park at City Park.

In December, the Board of Selectmen will take up the budget for 2008-09.

“It is a very, very conservative budget this year,” Mayor Mark A. “Tony” Gulotta said.

There will be very little capital outlay included in the budget, the mayor said, although the city does expect to proceed with a new sewage trunk line to the Mississippi River as soon as it gets clearance from the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers to lay the line across the levee.

Gulotta said the Corps has new criteria for evaluating permits along the lower Mississippi.

“We’re ready to go,” he said. “Our money is sitting there. Our right-of-way agreements are done. The city engineer has the specs ready to go. We could be out to bid within two weeks after we get the permit.”