By: Aaron Lawler
I have enjoyed my 3.5 years the council and I look forward to helping the people of Prairieville and all of Ascension for another 4.5 years. There are many achievements that I am proud of, the first chronologically was implementing Traffic Impact Fees, which had been studied for years without action. I drafted a moratorium on new subdivisions which was tied to the passage of the Traffic Impact Fee ordinance. The fact that the moratorium made it to the full council agenda was a first for Ascension and the fact that it led to the Traffic Impact fees, which have contributed over 6 million dollars toward traffic improvements, was a good start.
I am proud of the Move Ascension Program. We are about to experience an unprecedented amount of road construction in Ascension Parish. When I first decided to run for Council, I made Henry Rd., Daigle Rd. (930) and Causey Rd. priorities. True to my vision, Henry Rd and 930 are being safety widened and Causey will have a round-a-bout.
I am proud that Lamar Dixon Expo Center is now run like the first-class facility it is.
Retaining a private contractor to reduce the backlog of drainage work orders has been a success. Using a private contractor was a key. That way the parish should not have to hire permanent employees for a temporary problem. The long-term cost savings is a real positive for the taxpayers.
Our new Pavement Management Program is another way this council is looking to save money in the long term. By taking care of our roads before they start to deteriorate, we are reducing long term maintenance costs.
I don’t know if “proud” is the right word, but I felt I had a duty to speak out when our Parish President was charged with a crime. Not only did I speak out, but I wrote the Resolution of No Confidence. But more importantly, I did not allow the President’s issues to distract me from the job of representing the people of Prairieville.
Following the Flood of 2016 (I refuse to call it the “great flood”. There was nothing great about it and it seems to be an insult to those that flooded) I was thrilled to see how our community pulled together to help each other. Since that time, I have continued to work with the victims of the flood, and I continue to work with our state and federal partners to have the Amite river and Bayou Manchac dredged/snagged.
Bringing early voting to the Oak Grove Community Center is wonderful for the people of Prairieville. Teamwork with our Clerk of Court, Bridget Hanna was a key to this success.
My misplacing of the study on traffic studies is an obvious regret. Others, including the Post, have tried to create a crazy conspiracy, but I know in my heart and before God, that there was no malicious intent, just a simple losing track of the document. In the end I was proud it passed, along with more stringent requirements for drainage detention ponds, both of which were great for Ascension.
I am disappointed the Floodplain Ordinance did not survive veto…but I continue to work on it and a moratorium that may pass or lead to the Floodplain Ordinance’s passage.
As a husband and father, my biggest regret is the time I was not able to spend with my family, but I also know that they are proud of the sacrifices I have made for the good of the Parish. I hope my time as a Councilman serves as an example to my sons.
2) What do you hope to accomplish in the future?
- The Dredging/snagging of the Amite River and Bayou Manchac. We can clean every ditch in the parish, but if the water can’t flow out of our ditches, it has not helped that much.
- An Interchange at Bluff Road and I-10. This would alleviate so much traffic throughout Prairieville and Dutchtown.
- I would like to cap the number of employees in the Parish. I think the administration should have to justify any new hire to the council.
- Implement OhioCheckbook for Ascension Parish. Look it up. It’s awesome.
- A municipal sewer system beginning with the lines running down Hwys 73 and 42.
- First class fields for our baseball and softball players. And a real maintenance plan for the fields.
- Continue the progress of Move Ascension.
- Control growth with infrastructure-based growth.