Cointment: Will NOT support sewer agreement without voter approval

Ascension President Clint Cointment

“Any deal of this magnitude deserves to be voted on by the people. Anything less will not have my support.”

Dear Citizens of Ascension Parish:

As many of you are aware, parish government has been negotiating with NWI for almost two years to develop a more efficient way to provide not only sewer, but cleaner water ways for our citizens. Some may complain that two years is too long, but our research shows that it has taken some municipalities as long as six years to negotiate a deal of this magnitude. A deal of this magnitude deserves due diligence.

To date, great strides have been made. Working with members of the council, the negotiating team and NWI, we have put forth a proposal that improves the quality of life in Ascension Parish on more than one front. Our proposal improves our sewer system, cleans our waterways and will also generate millions in revenue that can be used to improve our roads and recreation.

Last Friday, parish government submitted a counter proposal (Corporate Endeavor Agreement) to NWI, that in my opinion represents a fair deal for everyone. The CEA proposes selling the utility assets on the east bank in exchange for an agreed upon price, as well as guarantees that NWI will not only provide quality sewer for the next 5 years, but for the duration of the franchise agreement.

My administration is expecting a counter offer no later than this Friday. I am open to negotiating on any front, with one exception. Any agreement that either sells, leases or franchises public property must first be approved by the voters. It is important that the purchase agreement must be tied to a CEA which contractually requires the purchasing entity to continuously improve our sewer system and clean our water ways. This is a fair deal. The Parish provides NWI with a long-term franchise, the right to future customers and the ownership of our assets, and in return NWI provides the parish with a contractual commitment for a long-term improvement plan for our sewer system.

Thanks in advance for you time.

Best regards,

Clint Cointment, Ascension Parish President