ASCENSION PARISH, La. (WAFB) - The time for talk is over and now, the five newly elected Ascension Parish Council members must get to work.
Joel Robert, Corey Orgeron, Chase Melancon, Dal Waguespack, and Michael Mason, along with the new parish president, Clint Cointment, were sworn in Monday, Jan. 6.
Waiting for them is a controversial $215 million deal that would overhaul the parish’s sewer system.
"We want accountability and we want the private sector to have to answer to the public sector because we’re the ones that answer to the people,” said Corey Orgeron, who replaced “Doc” Satterlee as District 4 councilman.
Cointment says before they vote, he wants to open up public debate on the deal, allowing ample opportunity for everyone to voice their opinions.
"I would be encouraged to have more than one, maybe three in all,” Cointment said.
Besides the sewer deal, the new council will also have a range of issues to tackle when it comes to traffic, drainage, and growth.
"We have to take a look at unbridled growth,” Cointment said. “We need to do that soon."
To do that, Cointment says the council will need to tackle the projects already on the books, projects such as the construction on Highway 44 in Michael Mason’s district.
“We have a traffic situation, especially on Highway 44 near Germany Road,” said Mason, who replaced Benny Johnson in District 11. “It’s always an ongoing construction mess, so we want to make sure to get all of that cleared up and really make sure we get our roads wider and safer for everybody.”
To accomplish everything, the new council members will likely have to rely on the experience of existing members. Cointment says that should not be a problem and he’s ready to get to work.
“This is about new beginnings, this is about the opportunity, this is about working together with a new council and even existing members, moving the parish forward,” Cointment said. “Super excited about that opportunity, really just ready to get started, ready to get in tomorrow and start the process.”
The first council meeting for the new members is Thursday, Jan. 9.