Cointment, Melancon secure further negotiation; Special Meeting cancelled

Parish President-Elect Clint Cointment

Soon to be Ascension Parish President, Clint Cointment was joined by Councilman-Elect Chase Melancon at a Monday afternoon meeting with the power brokers behind Ascension Sewer, LLC (with a Special Meeting scheduled the next day to approve the mega-deal).  Cointment brought along a list of items for discussion which included several contractual issues included in the Cooperative Endeavor Agreement up for approval on Tuesday.  Bernhard Capital Partners’ Jeff Jenkins ended up requesting the cancellation of that Special Meeting, apparently receptive to addressing certain, maybe all of Cointment’s concerns.

Cointment spoke in generalities during a late Monday phone interview, preferring to save comment until this morning and a prepared statement.  He would admit to being “cautiously optimistic and appreciative of Ascension Sewer’s willingness to keep talking…”

Chase Melancon

Councilman-Elect Melancon was more forthcoming.

“Very encouraging, very encouraging.  As we’ve stressed before, no one is opposed to regional wastewater treatment for east bank Ascension and this particular company.  My first and only responsibility is to ensure the best possible deal for the people of St. Amant and all of Ascension Parish,” Melancon responded.  “I am more confident than ever that we can join with Ascension Sewer in a true partnership to achieve that.”

According to Melancon the Council chair is considering new dates in December to hold the delayed Special Meeting, expressing confidence that those items for discussion will be resolved in due time.

Among the items discussed on Monday was a “Termination Fee” that we believe would eventually bankrupt Ascension Parish.  Melancon indicated Ascension Sewer expressed a willingness to agree to changes “satisfactory to protect the parish.”

If that is the case, Cointment and Melancon have accomplished more in an afternoon than the current administration and council have in months of negotiation (arguably in four years).