Deadline today without Ascension Sewer deal. What next?

Today is the deadline to execute a Construction and Operating Agreement between Ascension Sewer, LLC and the parish.  On May 26 the conglomerate’s Jeff Baudier addressed a letter to ACUD#2 and Ascension Parish Negotiating Committee which included the following:

Termination: The parties will make best faith efforts to obtain expedited Parish Council approval of a mutually-acceptable C&O Agreement.  Unless otherwise agreed, this Proposal shall terminate and become null and void unless the District, Ascension Sewer and NWI enter into a definitive agreement on or before July 31, 2020

Maybe it is Ascension Sewer’s letter which is “null and void” since one of its intended recipients, the Negotiating Committee convened at the behest of Councilman Corey Orgeron from his Council Utilities Committee chair, was disbanded.

Orgeron leaves Casso holding the bag as Sewer Committee disbanding after one (official) meeting

That was on May 26, mere hours after Baudier’s missive was sent.  As for ACUD#2, created by a 2010 ordinance, the council has yet to create the five-member “advisory board” required in the originating legislation.

Orgeron’s Utilities Committee having demonstrated its inability to get a deal done, its recent agendas have omitted any related items.  Orgeron’s pandering to the conglomerate knew no bounds until overplaying his hand.  He and Casso engaged Ascension Sewer without the rest of the negotiating team, leading to its ignominious demise (see link above).

What was Council Chairwoman Teri Casso thinking when she appointed Orgeron to head up that ultra-important committee? You can probably figure it out without exerting too much effort.

Three weeks later and Casso added the following item to the June 23 agenda…

RESOLUTION
TO RETAIN THE FIRM OF ERNST & YOUNG
TO ANALYZE AND COMPARE SEWER PLANS

WHEREAS, Ascension Sewer, LLC has submitted a sewer plan to the Ascension Parish Governing Authority for wastewater operation on the East Bank of Ascension Parish, and
WHEREAS, the Parish Administration has developed an alternative.
WHEREAS, the Governing Authority desires a financial analysis of the alternative sewer plan to assist in its review of the plan.

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the firm of Ernst & Young be retained to analyze the alternative sewer plan developed by the Parish Administration and to compare such plan with the plan submitted by Ascension Sewer, LLC.

only to remove it once the meeting convened.

Rest assured that discussion, if not actual negotiation, is ongoing between the parish and Ascension Sewer.  The conglomerate still benefits from the May 20, 2019 agreement whereby the last Parish Council gave up the ability to “negotiate” with any other entity for two years.  In the interim, Parish President Clint Cointment offered an alternative proposal…

Cointment plan $115 MILLION less than Ascension Sewer, $30 less in monthly rates

that would require substantial engineering/pencil-whipping before it could approach fruition.

Where does the Ascension Sewer deal stand now?  Nobody is talking, not on the record anyway.  Discussions are ongoing, the substance of which is not clear.

 

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