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St. Tammany Parish Government Introduces 2019 Budget

St. Tammany Parish Government Introduces 2019 Budget

The St. Tammany Parish Council introduced two ordinances for adoption last week — the proposed 2019 Parish Operating Budget, and the proposed 2019 Parish Capital Improvement Budget and Program. Copies of both proposed budgets are available for public review at the Parish Council Office or online here.

An announcement will be made, as soon as budget hearings have been scheduled. The Parish Council will hold a Public hearing in Council Chambers at 6p.m. on Thursday, November 1, 2018 to review the proposed Operating and Capital Improvement Budgets prior to adoption.

The 2019 Budget, was prepared by Pat Brister, St. Tammany Parish President and staff. A copy of the letter to the St. Tammany Parish Council is attached.

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To learn more about where your tax dollars are invested, visit www.stpgov.org/initiatives. Stay up-to-date on what’s happening in Parish Government when you sign up for email updates at www.stpgov.org. Follow us on social media on Facebook and Twitter.

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Phase 2 of Three Rivers Road Widening in Covington Area Underway

Phase 2 of Three Rivers Road Widening in Covington Area Underway

Pat Brister, St. Tammany Parish President, announced today the start of the second phase of road improvements to Three Rivers Road in the Covington area. The work includes widening of the roadway and the installation of subsurface drainage. This phase is expected to be complete in early 2019 at an estimated cost of $953,000.

“Our top priority is improving roads and drainage, as well as having a dedicated and well planned program to maintain these critical investments,” said Pat Brister, St. Tammany Parish President. “This road project will make travel easier and safer for our residents, and the subsurface drainage will cost us less maintenance in the future.”

The first phase was completed in January of 2017 at a cost of $1.8 million. At the completion of phase two, the road will be widened from Avenue St. Germain to the Wolverine Drive. Magee Excavation and Development is the contractor for this job. Residents are asked to be mindful of intermittent lane closures, and to expect delays because of these improvements.

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First Phase of Drainage Project in Covington Area to Benefit two Neighborhoods, Begins

First Phase of Drainage Project in Covington Area to Benefit two Neighborhoods, Begins 

Pat Brister, St. Tammany Parish President, announced today that Phase I of two-part drainage improvement project in Riverwood Subdivision in the Covington area is underway. Phase I includes the installation of storm drain pipes on Magnolia Lane in the Riverwood Subdivision. In Phase 2, crews will install storm drain pipes on Laurelwood Drive.

“Every day we work to improve our existing drainage infrastructure not only for the immediate future, but long-term. This project does exactly that — it enhances flood mitigation overall — and we are so pleased to see it begin,” said Pat Brister, St. Tammany Parish President.  “Two neighborhoods will see benefits from this project; residents in the Riverwood subdivision, as well as residents of the adjacent subdivision, Covington Country Club Estates.”

The overall cost of the project (Phases 1 &2), is estimated at $3.2 million with Phase 1 estimated at $666,167.50. St. Tammany Parish Government will fund, approximately$1.7 Million, while the remainder of the funding, $1.49 million will come from a grant-funded initiative, the Statewide Flood Control Program, administered by the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (LADOTD). This Statewide Flood Control Program aims to bring about flood damage reduction through long-term solutions for areas that experience flooding losses.  Phase 1 is expected to be complete by spring of 2019.

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$5.3 Million Grant Award Announced

$5.3 Million Grant Award Announced

Pat Brister, St. Tammany Parish President, announced that St. Tammany Parish Government, and the Safe Haven project,  will receive $5,310,000 in grant funding through the National Disaster Resiliency funding, facilitated through the State of Louisiana’s LA SAFE initiative. The funding from this competitive grant will be to implement the Safe Haven green infrastructure projects. As part of the grant process, LA SAFE held individual engagement events in 2017 to gather public input on six proposed projects in St. Tammany Parish, as well as other proposed projects throughout the State. The Safe Haven project was supported by the residents in public meetings, and voted for by St. Tammany Parish citizens as one component of the competitive process.

“The Safe Haven behavioral health campus will have multi-layered benefits. The green infrastructure, water quality and stormwater management projects will enhance critical drainage and flood mitigation. To have Safe Haven recognized by a State and Federal program, and especially by our own citizens, is extremely gratifying for us,” said Pat Brister, St. Tammany Parish President. “I again want to thank the residents of St. Tammany for participating in this process, because it is through your input, and your recognition of its value to our community, that we will see these dollars spent on Safe Haven.”

The Safe Haven Blue Green Campus project, located in the Mandeville area adjacent to Cane Bayou, is a community nonstructural Mitigation/Flood Risk Reduction and Public Services project that divert stormwater into existing forested land, illustrating how a multi-phase development with existing infrastructure in vulnerable environments can be repurposed to benefit surrounding areas.  You can view the Safe Haven resilience project here.

The first physical component of the Safe Haven Campus, the NAMI St. Tammany Day Center was opened to the public in June 2018. Construction on the planned Crisis Receiving Center could begin by early 2019.

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In 2015 Pat Brister, St. Tammany Parish President, announced her administration’s vision of developing a comprehensive system of behavioral health care in St. Tammany. Safe Haven will provide a collaborative healing environment for the behavioral health continuum by creating a high-quality, coordinated, sustainable and humane network of care anchored in St. Tammany Parish. The facility will serve as a comprehensive multi-faceted program and a “single point of entry” into the Behavioral Health continuum of care for law enforcement, the judiciary and local area hospitals. To sign up for updates on the progress of Safe Haven visit www.safehavenstp.org.

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Parish President Pat Brister Names New Interim Chief Administrative Officer

Parish President Pat Brister Names New Interim Chief Administrative Officer

Pat Brister, St. Tammany Parish President, is pleased to announce that Kelly Rabalais will be the new interim Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) for St. Tammany Parish Government effective September 21, 2018. 

Gina Campo, Parish Government’s current CAO, is resigning and will be taking a position in State Government as the Deputy Executive Director of the State’s Office of Community Development.

“We appreciate the incredible work that Gina has accomplished, we appreciate her work ethic, and most of all we appreciate her leadership in my administration from the beginning,” said Brister. “We wish her the very best as she continues to serve the people of this Parish and State from her new position. Additionally, I am very happy that our operations will not skip a beat, and we will have a smooth transition, because of Kelly’s experience and institutional knowledge. She will build upon the great work we have accomplished thus far, and will serve this community well.”

“It has been an honor to work for Parish President Brister. She and her administration have a lot to be proud of, and I am very confident that Kelly will continue to lead Parish Government to achieving even more,” said Campo. “It hurts me to move on, but I am taking on a great opportunity to serve the citizens of Louisiana.”

“I am humbly accepting the job of Parish Government’s interim CAO, and I am excited about the opportunity to lead a great organization as we refocus and reorganize our operations,” Rabalais said. “I am pleased to have been chosen to serve Parish President Brister, and serve the people of this Parish.”

Rabalais has previously served as Executive Counsel to Brister, and has worked for Parish Government for over 10 years, under two different administrations.

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Nearly 140,000 Pounds of Household Hazardous Waste Collected at St. Tammany Parish’s Summer Event

Pat Brister, St. Tammany Parish President, announced today the collection of an estimated 139,113 pounds of Household Hazardous Waste, at the June, 2018 St. Tammany Parish Household Hazardous Waste Collection Day (HHW Day), through the Parish’s Environmental Services Department and Keep St. Tammany Beautiful. Volunteers collected over 800 pounds of batteries, nearly 8,000 pounds of liquid pesticides and poisons, and an estimated 40,000 pounds of electronics from 748 vehicles. Over 900 households were served at this event. 

“Household Hazardous Waste Day is one more way we are protecting the environment. This growing and popular event allows our residents an opportunity to dispose of potential pollutants in a responsible way,” said Pat Brister, St. Tammany Parish President. “Our Environmental Services employees and Keep St. Tammany Beautiful do an impressive job. We are happy to organize it and offer it, and we encourage residents to utilize it, so the waste is disposed of and does not end up in our local environment.”

With the large demand for HHW Day and its continued growth in usage, St. Tammany Parish Government is exploring ways to make disposal of these types of waste items more convenient. The Parish is considering several constructive, innovative and cost effective ideas to make HHW Day more efficient.

Upcoming Keep St. Tammany Beautiful events include a second HHW Day in the Slidell area currently slated for November 2018.  More information on the event will follow as it gets closer. Keep St. Tammany Beautiful has information on upcoming events on their website: www.keepsttammanybeautiful.org.

To organize a cleanup event for your neighborhood, or if you or your group would like to volunteer, call Rick Moore, Executive Director of Keep St. Tammany Beautiful, at 985.898.5214.

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St. Tammany Parish is committed to protecting the environment and sustainability, through initiatives like Keep St. Tammany Beautiful, launched in 2015, the implementation of green energy throughout our Parish-owned facilities, daily litter abatement crews, our Green Guide, elevated water quality standards, and Household Hazardous Waste Collection Days. To learn more or to volunteer with Keep St. Tammany Beautiful, visit, www.keepsttammanybeautiful.org.

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43 Pets from the Department of Animal Services Find Families during the 2018 Clear the Shelters Event

43 Pets from the Department of Animal Services Find Families during the 2018 Clear the Shelters Event

Pat Brister, St. Tammany Parish President announced the adoption of 43 animals from the St. Tammany Parish Department of Animal Services shelter during their participation in the nationwide 2018 Clear the Shelters event, on Saturday, August 18, 2018. During this event, all adoption fees were waived.  According to www.cleartheshelters.com, over 90,000 pets were adopted nationwide on this day.

“In 2017, the Department of Animal Services adopted out nearly 1000 animals, and returned 362 lost pets to their owners,” said Pat Brister, St. Tammany Parish President. “We can only do this through the help of our neighbors and friends — our residents — who choose to adopt an animal in need. We encourage everyone to consider adoption first when choosing a pet.”

All animals adopted from the Department of Animal Services are socialized, spayed or neutered, up-to-date on their vaccines, and microchipped. Animals available for adoption can be viewed at www.stpgov.org/departments/animal-services, click on the Pet Harbor and Pet Finder links. Animal Services is located at 31078 Highway 36 in Lacombe, with adoption hours from 8 a.m. – 4p.m. Monday through Saturday.

See a photo gallery of animals who found their forever homes on Saturday, here.

 

 

 

The mission of Animal Services is to balance the health, safety and welfare needs of people and animals in St. Tammany Parish by: protecting the rights of people from dangers and nuisances caused by uncontrolled animals, ensuring the legal protection of animals from mistreatment, and promoting, motivating and enforcing responsible pet ownership. The Animal Shelter provides a safe and clean facility for stray animals or unwanted pets. Follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/animalservices.

 

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Pat Brister, St. Tammany Parish President, Warns Citizens of Extreme Heat

The National Weather Service in Slidell has issued a Heat Advisory for St. Tammany Parish and the surrounding area through the weekend, including  Monday, July 23rd.

Pat Brister, St. Tammany Parish President, announced today, “that St. Tammany Parish citizens need to take the necessary precautions to prevent heat related illnesses.” Brister went on to say, “heat waves are the leading cause of extreme weather-related deaths in the US, so we are urging all residents and visitors that it will be important to take precautionary measures to prevent illness or death because of the heat and heat-index over the next few days. ”  

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention reports that heat-related death or illnesses are preventable if you follow a few simple steps:

o    Stay in an air-conditioned area during the hottest hours of the day. 
o    If you do not have working air conditioning in your home, go to a public place such as a shopping mall or a library to stay cool. 
o    Wear light, loose-fitting clothing.
o    Drink water often. Do not wait until you are thirsty.
o    Avoid unnecessary hard work or activities if you are outside or in a building without air-conditioning.
o    Avoid unnecessary sun exposure. When in the sun, wear a hat, preferably with a wide brim, and always wear sunscreen.
o    Do Not Leave Children in Cars: Cars can quickly heat up to dangerous temperatures, even with a window cracked-open. While anyone left in a parked car is at risk, children are especially at risk of getting a heat stroke or dying.

When traveling with children, remember to do the following:

    Never leave infants, children or pets in a parked car, even if the windows are cracked open.
    To remind yourself that a child is in the car, keep a stuffed animal in the car seat. When the child is buckled in, place the stuffed animal in the front with the driver.
    When leaving your car, check to be sure everyone is out of the car. Do not overlook any children who have fallen asleep in the car.

Air conditioning is the strongest protective factor against heat-related illness. Exposure to air conditioning for even a few hours a day will reduce the risk for heat-related illness.  See the image included in this post  how you can learn to identify the signs and symptoms of heat related illness, as well as what the CDC suggest you do.
 

Additionally, precautions should also be taken for pets and livestock during the extreme heat conditions, such as keeping them out of direct sunlight, making certain they have a fresh water source, and never leaving a pet in a locked vehicle. For more information on pet heat safety visit the American Red Cross, or well-known pet related websites.

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St. Tammany Continues to Pursue the Prioritization of the I-12 Widening Project 

Pat Brister, St. Tammany Parish President, announced today that Parish Government has submitted its application for a $36 million federal BUILD Grant to help fund the next phase of widening I-12 in St. Tammany Parish. This application follows her pledge to testify before a U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee and requests to the Governor and U.S. Senator John Kennedy to provide bi-partisan support for this grant as well as other funding sources. She has also committed $7.2 million dollars of match funding from Parish Government. 

“We want this project to become and remain a top priority until its completion. We will continue to seek support and funding from every possible source, until we see action,” Said Brister. “The safety of this community is my primary concern, and we will not rest until the project is complete.” 

The grant details the necessity of the project and provides a detailed analysis for its justification. It states that Interstate 12 is part of the National Highway Freight Network and Louisiana’s Tier 1 Freight Network. The segment between Louisiana State Highway 21 and U.S. 190 provides a level of service well below the national standards for that designation. Even non-fatal accidents can block traffic in this corridor for hours. In the past five years, more than 900 crashes have occurred in the corridor affecting approximately 2800 vehicle occupants. Congestion will only grow, with traffic forecasts predicting an average Annual Average Daily Traffic (AADT) for this segment to be between 104,300 and 126,800 by 2038. 

Congress has dedicated nearly $5.6 billion for nine rounds of National Infrastructure Investments through the BUILD Transportation Discretionary Grant with $1.5 billion available through this round. These funds are for investments in surface transportation infrastructure and are to be awarded on a competitive basis for projects that will have a significant local or regional impact. According to the U.S Department of Transportation, no more than $150 million can be awarded to a single state in this round. Applications will be evaluated based on merit criteria, including: safety, economic competitiveness, quality of life, environmental protection, state of good repair, innovation, partnership, and additional non-Federal revenue for infrastructure investments. This project’s benefit cost ratio of 8 to 1 demonstrates a very high return on investment benefitting the residents of St. Tammany Parish. 

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Pat Brister, St. Tammany Parish President, Asks Citizens to Help Do Their Part in Preventing West Nile

With the first human case of West Nile Virus in St. Tammany Parish confirmed today by the Louisiana Department of Health, it is even more important to do everything you can to prevent mosquito breeding, and to take precautions to protect you and your family.

Pat Brister, St. Tammany Parish President, announced today, “that all St. Tammany Parish residents need to do their part in preventing other cases of the West Nile Virus by taking the necessary steps to reduce the risk of mosquito breeding and bites.” Brister went on to say, “the St. Tammany Parish Mosquito Abatement District personnel do a wonderful job, but we each have a responsibility to help prevent the spread of mosquito-borne diseases.”  

To help prevent mosquitoes from breeding, the Parish is asking that all citizens drain standing water. A small amount of standing water can be enough for a mosquito to lay eggs and multiply. Look around your home and business for possible breeding places. Empty standing water from buckets, cans, pool covers, flowerpots and other items, as well as check to ensure rain gutters are not clogged. Clean pet bowls weekly, and if you store water outside or have a well, make sure it is covered. Encourage your neighbors to do the same. Additionally, keep mosquitoes outside by fixing or installing window screens.

Families should take precautions to protect themselves by applying insect repellent on exposed skin and clothing when you go outdoors. Use an EPA-registered insect repellent such as those containing DEET, picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus. Permethrin sprayed on clothing provides protection through several washes. Products with a higher percentage of DEET as active ingredient generally give longer protection. Wearing long sleeve shirts, long pants and socks sprayed with repellent while outdoors can further help prevent mosquito bites.

You can still enjoy the summertime activities St. Tammany has to offer, but you should take these preventative measures to protect yourself, your family, and your home. Do your best to avoid mosquitoes, particularly between dusk and dawn, when many mosquitoes bite.

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