Mayor clarifies position on providing utilities
By Mayor Lawrence Henagan
I would like to take this opportunity to clear up any misunderstandings and correct any mistruths regarding the City of DeQuincy's involvement in the Magnolia Pines Lodge.
As I stated in the DeQuincy News on Wednesday, March 25, 2015, I was contacted by Mr. Vernon Meyer of Meyer and Associates Engineering firm requesting a meeting be held regarding a proposal involving the City of DeQuincy.
At this meeting, I was asked if the city would CONSIDER allowing the facility, entirely at their cost, to connect their sewage lines to the city's sewer treatment pond. I was also shown two letters from the Department of Health and Hospitals that approved sewage treatment by either, (1) connection to the city or, (2) to onsite treatment ponds. I was also asked if the city would CONSIDER furnishing natural gas to the facility.
Regarding the sewer, I told them that IF they are approved, we would CONSIDER it. Prior to a subsequent meeting, I asked that our engineer determine if our plant is capable of handling the increase without jeopardizing the possibility of future annexations to the city.
It is my belief that if the facility were to be built, wastes generated would best be treated by an existing sewage plant rather than ponds onsite. I believe this to be the most environmentally friendly solution.
Regarding the natural gas, I told them that IF they are approved, we would CONSIDER it. Why would I agree to consider both of these requests? Certainly, both would result in a significant, constant revenue stream for the city and would be more environmentally friendly than waste treatment in onsite ponds.
That meeting ended with the understanding that they would seek answers to my questions, and if the rezoning was approved by the police jury, a subsequent meeting would be held, at which time, more information would be made available for presentation to the City Council.
I have been told that at the police jury zoning meeting, a representative of the engineering firm made a statement that gave the impression that the City of DeQuincy had already approved their request for sewage treatment at our plant. That was NOT TRUE THEN and is NOT TRUE NOW. Repeating my earlier response to their request, I told them that we would CONSIDER it, provided they were permitted, and that answers to all of my questions about our sewer plant capabilities were answered satisfactorily.
My plan at that time would have been to take this request to the City Council to determine their desires in this regard.
Since that preliminary meeting, I took the initiative to speak with our city's engineer regarding our sewer plant and its capabilities. While I have been assured that our plant could handle the increased load, I did not feel comfortable with some of the resulting increased requirements and adjustments that we might have to make.
For those reasons, I contacted each council member, shared the information, and suggested that we rescind our consideration of their request to connect to our sewer plant. All of the council agreed and I have communicated that to the engineering firm and developer.
In closing, I would like to thank the two people who phoned me and those who, at my workplace, shared their concerns and opinions. I commend each of you for contacting your police juror and/or the other jurors to share your thoughts.
I thank God that we live in the United States of America where we have that privilege and it is our right to have our opinion, whether for or against an issue, respected by our neighbors.
Thank you for the opportunity and privilege to serve as your Mayor.