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November 23, 2021

Washington Parish Council: Major Issues Nearing Completion

During the Monday (November 22, 2021) meeting, the Washington Parish Council received information and took actions regarding some major issues. First, noise abatement measures are complete at the Entergy facility near Bogalusa. Second, the draft of the proposed ordinance regulating solar panel projects is nearing completion. Third, debris cleanup following Hurricane Ida is complete with the exception of six stumps. 

Entergy representative Patrick Hamby advised the Council (beginning at 6:55 into the video) that noise mitigation measures at the Entergy plant near Bogalusa are now complete and testing is planned for next week. The target noise level is 45 decibels. 

The Council approved a resolution for a fourth extension (for 90 days) of the "moratorium on the approval or permitting of all solar panel farms or utility scale solar projects, commercial solar power plants or operations similar thereto". Prior to approving the resolution and beginning at 52:20 into the video, the Council was advised that the draft of the proposed ordinance was nearing completion. The draft of the proposed ordinance is being prepared by a group of four attorneys, each expert in their fields, retained by the Council. It was ultimately agreed that the draft would be provided to all interested parties and be brought to the Council at a special meeting. The Planning Commission and all interested parties will be invited. The ordinance will then be introduced followed by a Public Hearing and vote by the Council two weeks after introduction.

In other business, 

  • Small Business Administration representative Barbara Nitis made a presentation (beginning at 2:40 into the video) on assistance available to residents in the wake of Hurricane Ida. The number to call is 800-659-2955
  • AT&T representatives Britt Ikerd and Eric Jones (beginning at 9:55 into the video) provided an overview of efforts to improve broadband to the Parish and requested a resolution in support of their application for a competitive $90 million Gumbo grant from the State of Louisiana
  • an ordinance was introduced to adopt the 2022 Annual Operating Budget and the Capital Outlay Budget for the WPG. A public hearing and vote will held on December 6, 2021
  • approved a number of resolutions of appointment. Huey Newcomb, Judy Howard, and John McCrary were re-appointed to the Washington Parish Fire District No. 5. Board of Directors; Troy Crain, Penny Moses, and Jerome Warren were re-appointed to the Washington Parish Planning Commission; Michael Harang, Thomas Garic, and Ricky Brumfield were re-appointed to the Washington Parish Fire District No. 2. Board of Directors; John Nathaniel, Gary Pierce, and Christine Whittington were re-appointed to the Washington Parish Fire District No. 6. Board of Directors
  • a resolution was approved to engage Kushner Lagraize, L.L.C. to perform audit services for the WPG
  • a resolution was approved in support of expanding Louisiana Highway 25 and Mississippi Highway 27 to four lanes.

Parish President Richard Thomas (beginning at 1:10:00 into the video) commented on the recent ground-breaking of the Hwy. 3241 project (finally becoming a reality after 32 years), provided comments and described the recent Larry Wells Memorial Highway dedication ceremony at Mt. Hermon School as “wonderful”, remarked on the efforts expanding Highway 25 to a four-lane, and provided the latest COVID-19 statistics in the Parish.

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