City plans to sell its share of Choctaw Road landfill to parish

Published 3:23 am Saturday, February 22, 2020

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The Bogalusa City Council voted Tuesday to sell the city’s share in the Choctaw Road landfill to the Washington Parish government, helping to eliminate a major debt obligation for the city.

In 1987, the landfill opened under an agreement where the city of Bogalusa owned a 41.9-percent share in the project and the parish owned the remaining 58.1 percent. However, since 2004, the city has failed to collect enough revenue to meet its financial obligations toward the landfill’s expenses.

Joey Richard, the state-appointed fiscal administrator for the city of Bogalusa, said during Tuesday’s meeting that the sale would help the city in two ways. First, he noted that the city has a current obligation of $2.6 million owed to the Choctaw Road landfill for annual revenue shortfalls as well as the city’s share in new cell construction at the landfill. The selling of its share of the landfill’s operation will help the city eliminate that longstanding debt.

In addition, the city will sign a 10-year agreement where the city will pay the landfill (under parish-exclusive ownership) to handle the city’s garbage. This will result in an additional $2 million in savings to the city over the 10 years of that agreement, Richard said. The city will pay approximately $320,000 to the parish each year.

The Washington Parish Council will likely approve a resolution with similar language to the city’s ordinance, he said.

“I think that this is a fair and equitable solution,” Richard said.

The plan will not affect the public, Richard noted, pointing out that Bogalusa citizens will still be able to bring their personal trash to the landfill as they do today.

The official language for the ordinance states “An ordinance by the city of Bogalusa to authorize a settlement of debts owed to the Choctaw Landfill joint venture by transferring its ownership interest to Washington Parish and entering a multi-year agreement with Choctaw Landfill for disposal of residential waste and to provide for related matters.” The ordinance passed by a unanimous 7-0 vote.

In other business, the council:

  • Unanimously approved an ordinance authorizing the retaining of Postlewaite and Netterville to provide Professional Accounting Services for the city of Bogalusa as per engagement letter dated Jan. 16, 2020.
  • Unanimously approved an ordinance for the 2020 Revenue Anticipation Note. A Revenue Anticipation Note is a low-interest loan that governments routinely take out in order to get cash to meet expenses. That loan is then paid back later in the year, once the government’s tax revenue is collected.

City council member Oneita Graham noted that Bogalusa was approved to borrow up to $950,000 last year, but only took out $800,000. The city paid back the loan on time, and Graham projected that it would not need to take out as large a loan this year.

  • Unanimously approved an ordinance authorizing the mayor to enter into a contract with Professional Engineering Consultants Corporation Project No. 11505.01 Runway Rehabilitation Phase 1 (Project Design) at George R. Carr Memorial Airfield.
  • Had the first reading of an ordinance amending regulating the removal of household and/or residential garbage and/or trash containers located curbside as specified in solid waste contract. This ordinance will be voted upon and open for public discussion at the council’s next meeting on Tuesday, March 3, at 5:30 p.m. at Bogalusa City Hall, located at 214 Arkansas St.
  • Heard an update on the Colonial Creosote Superfund site.