SMLD board passes $2.5M bond issue
By: MACK SPENCER
MORGAN CITY — St. Mary Levee District commissioners officially issued $2.5 million in bonds Friday to help cover the cost of fighting off high water in the Atchafalaya River and Gulf Intracoastal Waterway.
The move had been in motion for some time, but the district board could not officially issue bonds until given approval by the state Bond Commission. That permission was granted July 21, board attorney Gerard Bourgeois said.
“We need this money by September, unless FEMA starts paying really quickly,” board president Bill Hidalgo said.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency has been expected to cover some of the costs incurred, including much of the tab for sinking a barge into Bayou Chene to prevent backwater flooding. The barge is now in the process of being removed by Lowland Construction, and plans are being developed for a permanent structure in Bayou Chene to prevent future backwater flooding.
Patterson State Bank will fund the bonds for 22 months at 1.75 percent interest. The board may continue the bonds at the prime interest rate minus 1.5 percent for up to 60 months, with the interest rate not to exceed 6 percent.
Hidalgo said the district has $1.576 million in payables due by Aug. 15. Bond proceeds not paid out will be put into a money market account until needed.
Parish President Paul Naquin reported to the board that the Parish Council has passed a resolution supporting the placement of a permanent flood control structure in Bayou Chene.