Debris removqal, pay raises decided at jury meeting

ABBEVILLE - After last week’s cancellation of the Vermilion Parish Police Jury Committee meetings due to Hurricane Gustav, the 14 members and administrative staff held two back to back meetings to get the business of the parish back on track.

For nearly three hours the most discussed topic was Gustav, removal of debris, animals picked up after the hurricane and one item of unfinished business in which the jury held a public meeting, pay raises.

According to Rick LeBlanc of the Vermilion Parish Solid Waste Department his workers have picked up 4,000 cubic yards of debris since last Wednesday. However, he estimates that is only 10 percent of the debris that is on the side of the roads waiting to disposal.

One of the concerns about picking up the debris is the possibility of Hurricane Ike coming through.

“We need to get it picked up,” Parish Administrator Secretary-Treasurer Chris Theriot said. “The materials on the ground could become projectiles in the event of another hurricane.”

In order to speed up the clean up process the parish will issue a request for proposal (RFP) to local companies who are equipped and available to help in the clean up. Due to the state of emergency declared, the normal bid process is not necessary.

LeBlanc estimated it would take about six weeks to pick up all the debris without contractors.

“We are back on the regular pick up schedule, but it will take some time to get to all of the debris,” he said.

In addition, parish officials urge residents to separate the trash from the trees and branches.

“We can’t get to the branches if there is a mattress thrown over the top of them,” Theriot stated.

Trees and branches weren’t the only items displaced in the storm. Supervisor of the Vermilion Parish rabies Control Center Karen Lemaire said there are a number of dogs that were picked up that didn’t have collars or tags but are obviously someone’s pet. Rabies Control will issue information about the dogs currently being held at the facility. Owners who may have lost a dog are encouraged to call 337-643-3160 and make an inquiry.

The public meeting to discuss consideration of an ordinance establishing the amount of compensation for members of the Vermilion Parish Police Jury at the maximum compensation allowable by law, is $1,600 per month, with the president of the jury to receive, in addition, $400 per month.

Only one resident of the parish spoke out against the pay raise.

Janice Macomber told the jury that she appreciated the new jury and felt much progress is being made, but the point she wanted to make was that perhaps they could find alternative ways to cut their expenses other than a raise.

The vote passed 8-6 in favor of the ordinance.

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