Metro Council approves sewer treatment plant settlement

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Last year, the issue failed by just one vote because Scotlandville residents said they did not want the $6 million settlement. Wednesday night though, after they said they've had more conversations and have a better understanding, the city and residents settled for the same $6 million.

But the 8-4 vote has left Scotlandville residents at an impasse.

"I'm happy in a way. I'm sad in a way," said Mamie Mitchell, who has lived across the sewer plant in Scotlandville for nearly 40 years.

"I feel like our hands were tied," said Shontelle Mitchell.

Tied because the decades old issue has gone before the courts and lost every time. Plus, the previous metro council voted against the measure twice last year leaving people like the Mitchell family without any other choices.

"The community is getting impatient. They are tired of waiting. They're tired of the city-parish games," said Shontelle Mitchell.

The estimated figure, $6 million, will go to buy out more than 40 homes around the plant. Department of Public Works Director David Guillory said on average, each home has been appraised around $80,000, plus up to $22,000 for relocating. But the $6 million pot will also go to building a buffer zone for the foul odor around the plant. That includes tearing down the 40 plus homes, getting rid of the underground utilities and slabs and planting fresh greenery.

All that will eventually replace the signs all over the Scotlandville neighborhood blaming the city and politicians for killing their community. On Wednesday, eight politicians voted in favor of the settlement.

"I think we finally get an opportunity to get closure. It was a win-win situation in my opinion. I think the city has an opportunity to come in and do what we should have done a long time ago," said Councilwoman Tara Wicker, who introduced the issue.

Four others, Scott Wilson, Joel Boe, John Delgado and Ryan Heck voted against the issue.

"I certainly feel for the residents out in that area, you know as far as what they're going through, but I feel like back in the 90's, they should have took the money then," said Wilson.

DPW hopes to begin appraising the homes the first quarter of this year and finish up by the end of 2013.

WAFB did ask for a breakdown of how the $6 million would be spent. WAFB was told it's all still in the planning phase.

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