Lake Charles City Council Approves Hunter’s Drainage Initiative
Forward progress seems to have been made after last night's city council meeting. The special meeting was for the Lake Charles City Council to vote on various plans of action presented by Mayor Nic Hunter. Hunter has not been quiet since the flooding event on May 17. He has been passionate about acting immediately on expediting repairs to the city's extremely outdated drainage system. Hunter presented his plan to the city council in three parts.
First up was for the council to approve a program manager. The manager would be in charge of identifying the immediate needs and areas of concern while helping to prioritize the various projects involved to improve the drainage system in the city.
The next step was to take an immediate $3M from the proposed 2022 drainage budget and use it this year on top of the $3M budget already in place. Hunter explained this would help the work start immediately.
Lastly, the city council was presented with the plan to borrow up to $20M to further finance improvements to the city's drainage system. Hunter was very clear in his presentation that although the City of Lake Charles is taking these steps to improve drainage in the city, he encourages the Calcasieu Parish Police Jury and East Side Gravity Drainage Board to do the same.
Mayor Nic Hunter said in a Facebook post that the City of Lake Charles is willing to do its part, but is also encouraging other areas surrounding the city to do the same.
The City stands ready and willing to partner with other agencies on the dredging of major laterals, bayous, and coulees throughout the City or partner on other capital improvement projects that engineers suggest. Again, we are all in this together.
The budgets and money borrowing will not impact city taxes, Hunter said. The money will hopefully be paid back with FEMA and through government grants. The reason for the borrow is that the SWLA area has yet to receive a relief package from Hurricane Laura, so there is no telling when the city would receive money to work on drainage.
The program manager and $20M plan was unanimously approved by the Lake Charles City Council and the $3M budget amendment will be voted on during the council's regular meeting on June 16.