Negotiations underway for garbage collection contract

By Cyndi Sellers

The Parish garbage collection contract with Waste Management is coming up for renewal, and the company is asking for a rate increase. Beverly Gilchrist spoke to the the Cameron Parish Police Jury on Thursday, June 11, asking for a standard cost of living increase to be added annually in the new term. She said costs have gone up, but there has been no increase in several years.

The fee is based on the number of residences in the service area, and the house count was recently updated, but another count may need to be made in the Cameron area to account for all the new recreational vehicles. Recently, customers in Cameron were told that only two cans would be picked up per residence, due to the number of RVs.

Gilchrist said there is no such rule in the contract, and she would look into the matter. She said increases in population have added partial routes in Hackberry and Grand Lake to make sure all trash is collected on the scheduled day. She also said the crews will not pick up 55 gallon drums. They are too heavy for one man to lift and the trucks are not equipped to pick them up mechanically. Customers may purchase an extra can from the parish if needed.

Jurors discussed the fact that RVs in Hackberry are not included in the parish waste collection route, as agreed at a meeting a year or two ago. The reasoning at that time was that RV parks are businesses and should provide their own dumpster for renters. In Cameron, each RV has its own parish-provided trash can. Hackberry Police Juror Curtis Fountain said every RV park should be treated the same.

Due to changes requested by both parties, the Jury voted to sign a letter of notice of non-renewal of the existing contract and give the legal department authority to negotiate new terms.

Cultural District Proposed

Jurors voted to support creation of the Grand Chenier Cultural District, as proposed by the Cameron Preservation Alliance. The organization’s president, Andy Tingler, explained that the district will give residents and property owners the ability to claim tax credits for remodeling historic buildings. Grand Chenier has the largest cluster of surviving homes over 50 years old on the coast. Benefits are also available for the arts and other cultural assets.

The District would extend from the area around the Mermentau River past Rockefeller Refuge, extending one half mile north of Hwy. 82 and including Rockefeller on the south side. The Rockefeller Refuge headquarters is home to a display of artifacts from the 1766 El Nuevo Constante shipwreck, found off the Cameron Parish coast in 1979.

Unlike a historical district, there are no restrictions for the renovation of buildings. The object, Tingler said, is to help people save the few remaining older homes in the area. The application to the Department of Culture and Tourism is due Aug. 1.

Other Business

In other business, authority was given for the Cameron Fire Protection District to purchase two used fire trucks: a 2010 Ferrara HME Intruder Ember for $40,000 and a 2006 Ferrara Invader for $20,000. These trucks will replace two older trucks nearing the end of their useful life.

Jurors also approved the issuance of revenue refunding bonds by Waterworks District #11. Attorney J. Delafield said the low bond market rates make it a good time to issue these bonds to pay off higher rate bonds, saving taxpayers money.

Jurors agreed to join a six-parish multi-jurisdictional consortium for workforce development. The group will provide skills training and other classes for workers.

Provisional approval was given to a policy and usage agreement for rental of the Rutherford Beach Pavilion, pending Beachfront Development District #2 setting the rental rates.

A request from Rutherford Beach resident Dr. Kevin Dupke, to change the Parish Temporary Food Service ordinance was taken under consideration. Dupke asked that Rutherford Bleach be cut out of the provision that allows food trucks to operate anywhere in the parish if affiliated with a non-profit organization. He also asked that non-profits only be allowed one food truck at a time, and that the non-profit be domiciled in Cameron Parish.

Dupke said local businesses were being hurt by the snow cone truck and food truck that began serving Rutherford Beach two weekends ago, affiliated with the Rockin’ Rutherford Fishing Club. Proceeds are dedicated toward the July 4 fireworks show and beach improvement projects. The food truck in question, Rita’s Creole Family Kitchen, is domiciled in Grand Lake. Frozen dessert trucks are allowed anywhere, and do not have to report to a commissary each night.

Board appointments: Beachfront Development District #2 – Vicky Kiffe, replacing Becky Hebert who resigned; Lower Cameron Hospital District #2 – Allison Romero, replacing Blair Jinks who resigned; Recreation District #5 – Tremayne Picou, replacing Kim Nunez who resigned; and Waterworks District #11 – Jerome Verzwyvelt, to fill an open seat previously vacated by the resignation of Bryan Granger.

After two months, two open seats remain on Gravity Drainage District #5 and one on Waterworks District #9.