Earlier this week Prairieville Councilman Aaron Lawler took aim at President Clint Cointment, asserting Ascension’s chief executive “wants to delay (a Drainage Master Plan) so more studies and analysis can be done.” Lawler urged followers to attend the next East Ascension Consolidated Gravity Drainage District No. 1’s next meeting, having secured a $3.44 million contract on the agenda for approval of HNTB engineers taking on the task.
Lawler, apparently, reached out to WBRZ to squeeze Cointment whose only response, so far, is the prepared statement below.
To whom it may concern, this administration strongly supports developing a Drainage Master Plan. My goals are the same as many Councilmembers. However, my administration’s approach is different. I promised the tax payers of Ascension Parish that I would do everything in my power to stop the wasteful spending on studies after studies. The days of engineering firms and consultants driving the direction and dollars being spent must come to an end.
On January 11th, my administration will be presenting a plan to the East Ascension Drainage Board that lays out a path forward to develop a Drainage Master Plan by the end of 2021. Under this plan, the parish will hire a qualified owner’s representative to develop a scope of work and serve as a liaison to the administration and always represent the best interest of the parish.
The scope of work will assess what data the parish has already been paid for in previous studies and provide an itemized list of what data needs to be collected going forward. Over the past 10 years, close to $10,000,000 has been spent on data collection and modeling in various drainage basins throughout the parish. We should not have to pay for this data twice.
The scope of work will include a clear list of deliverables, timelines and a clear statement of drainage problems and proposed solutions. Once the scope of work is completed, an RFQ will be put out for competitive bidding.
I believe that approving and signing this $3.4 million-dollar contract without doing our due diligence is a misuse of taxes dollars and a slap in the face to the residents impacted by the Great Flood of 2016.
Ascension President Clint Cointment