After reading Councilman Robert’s opinions posted on the Pelican Post’s website, I feel it is necessary to address his request for the Town of Sorrento to dismiss its lawsuit against the East Ascension Gravity Drainage District No. 1.
The District cannot resume projects that have never begun. That being said, there is nothing preventing the District from beginning work on drainage projects (including the clearing of roadside ditches) within the Town limits of Sorrento.
It is concerning that the District would purposely postpone the “digging out of A/B/C ditches” due to the filing of a lawsuit that merely seeks a declaration from the Court that they have a duty to do so. It is that exact attitude and “bullying” tactic that has led to this impasse…not the lawsuit. The lawsuit is based on the premise that all tax paying property owners within the district should be treated equally, including those within the municipal limits of Sorrento.
For two years the Town of Sorrento has waited patiently and has continually attempted to negotiate a deal with the District for some sort of help regarding roadside ditch clearing which would provide flood protection for citizens and property located in Sorrento, as well as benefit the District itself. Sorrento was presented with one option: agree to waive the District’s obligation to maintain any drainage ditches or facilities within the Town and pay for any damage caused by the District during its “non-obligatory” maintenance…OR receive no help or funds at all. No other municipality or property owner located within the District has ever been required to agree to such a waiver. This is unacceptable.
We reached out to the District to schedule a meeting to discuss a resolution for the second time. After receiving no dates for a meeting for over two months, I had no choice but to file the lawsuit. If the success of Sorrento’s lawsuit will “…do NOTHING to move any project for the benefit of a long-suffering citizenry of Sorrento”, the I ask why your EA Drainage colleagues took such “grave offense” to the lawsuit?
The judgment sought, if successful, will be for the benefit of ALL citizens and property located within the District, not just citizens and property located in Sorrento.
Michael Lambert, Mayor for the Town of Sorrento