BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Ascension Parish President Clint Cointment laid out his plan Monday, January 11, to address drainage throughout the entire parish.
Some Parish Council members have asked Cointment to come up with his version of a drainage master plan for Ascension, for the past few months.
Soon, the East Ascension Drainage Board will have to choose between his plan or another company’s proposal, and it may all come down to money.
“We just kind of wanted to give a recap to show you all that our employees got accomplished,” said Cointment.
After citing all the drainage work done in 2020, President Cointment laid out his plans on how to possibly prevent another 2016.
“What does a plan look like, what are the administration’s plans, how do we save money, how to we ensure that projects, how do we do post-project review,” said Cointment.
Right now, some council members want to add dollars to an existing contract with the company HNTB, to come up with a Flood Plain Master Plan.
But Cointment believes he can save the parish around a million dollars by doing things his way -- utilizing parish employees, and companies like HNTB.
“This is what we spend millions and millions of dollars on, and you can see that, this is what we got to do post-analysis. To ensure we have tangible products, and not just doing studies and overlapping studies,” said Cointment.
Cointment’s plan includes focusing on 2D modeling, which would drive future projects. So, crews could see where the water from major rain events is going and reduce the flood risk, along with managing current projects.
“We haven’t had a plan in Ascension Parish for decades, whether it be for drainage, we just put one in for transportation,” Said Aaron Lawler, Ascension Parish Councilman for District 7.
Councilman Lawler believes the current proposed plan by HNTB is worth the money and will benefit the parish in the long run. He’s been wanting specific drainage plan details from the administration, since last summer.
“The big deal is we’re missing out on federal and state funds because we don’t have a master plan. And the more time we delay on this, the more funds we’re missing,” said Lawler.
“The problem is still that we need to do a gap analysis and we set the parameters before we do any study, and make sure that our cost benefit is in, and that it leads to a project. So we have the ability to do it tomorrow, we just have to make sure we do a cost benefit analysis on anything that we do,” said Parish President Cointment.
The drainage commission could combine ideas from both the company and President Cointment’s in to one big plan.
A decision on this master plan, could be in the works in the coming weeks or months.
“Having spent the last week meeting with both HNTB and the Administration, I believe there is a path forward utilizing both visions of HNTB and The Parish President. I would like to see the project started with all of the modeling we already have, then expand on this at it is a living document. Spending $3.4 million at one time is a tough sell to the constituents of Ascension who have patiently waited years for results, but have not seen them,” said Chase Melancon, Vide-Chairman of the East Ascension Drainage Board.
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