St. Charles Herald-Guide

Council officially takes over Sunset Drainage District

Kyle Barnett - August 9, 2013

The St. Charles Parish Council passed an ordinance at Monday’s meeting officially absorbing the Sunset Drainage District into the parish government.

Under the agreement all functions of the 89-year-old Sunset Drainage District, which provides governance for construction and maintenance of the Sunset Drainage District levee, will now be taken on by the Parish Council. The levee protects around 5,000 people in Des Allemands, Bayou Gauche and Paradis.

The secretary-treasurer of the Sunset Drainage District is required to provide the Parish Council with all records, accounting history and funds. Once the takeover is completed on Aug. 15, the two employees currently working for the Sunset Drainage District will also be given jobs with the parish government.

According to Richard Borden, vice-president of the Sunset Drainage District Board of Commissioners, the organization only had enough funds to keep them operational until Oct. 1. That was the major reason the board agreed to the parish takeover.

At a special Parish Council meeting on July 25 at the Bayou Gauche Fire Station, St. Charles Parish Chief Administrative Officer Buddy Boe said taxes that were previously collected from those living within the Sunset Drainage District will no longer be levied.

“The Sunset Drainage District zeroed out that tax so there is no $20 per acre tax anymore,” he said.

Sam Scholle, public works director for the parish, said the Lafourche Basin Levee District will take over maintenance of the levee.

“They will maintain all of the earthen portions of the levee and they will maintain all the inspections and requirements by FEMA,” he said.

The parish will maintain all structures included in the district, most notably the pump station that the parish last month voted to dedicate $465,525 to for repairs and upgrades.

“We have plans for that particular pump station right now. We have money budgeted for that pump station right now in the 2014 budget,” Scholle said.  

In addition, an ordinance was passed that will allow the Lafourche Basin Levee District to conduct soil boring on the Sunset Drainage District levee in preparation of taking over the maintenance of the structure.

The testing is aimed at identifying areas of the levee that need to be improved.