The following answers were provided by Carlo Hernandez running for Council District 7 in St. Tammany Parish:
Drainage is definitely an important issue in Council District 7, impacting many areas in the district and beyond. Using existing funding and resources, and working with citizens, the Department of Public Works, the Engineering Department, etc., we would identify drainage ditches and canals to be cleaned and improved. We would also identify driveway culverts that need to cleaned or replaced, and possible funding for same when homeowners or businesses do not have the funds. Also identify drainage ponds that need to be cleaned, improved or constructed, and program funds to accomplish same.
Economic development in St. Tammany should create and maintain job opportunities in areas appropriately zoned for these activities. The St. Tammany Corporation is governed by a Board of Commissioners consisting of 11 members and it is the lead economic development organization for the parish. At present the Parish Council has the ability to grant property tax exemptions, and I would support those that have adhered to all regulations. Also, the business must be in good standing with all regulatory bodies, including having paid all taxes due.
Yes, parish government should acquire, operate and maintain private sewage and water systems. In years past, St. Tammany has acquired private sewage and water systems, including services provided in portions of Council District 7. Parish government has made these purchases and improvements to water and sewage systems using low cost bond funds and other funding sources not usually available to private operators who are profit motivated. Most large sewage and water systems are publicly owned and benefit by being able to acquire supplies and many services through public bids.
The heavy rain events have impacted Council District 7. More drainage ditches need to be cleaned and improved. The areas with subsurface drains need to be inspected and replaced as needed. Driveway culverts also need to be inspected, cleaned and replaced as needed. I support the efforts to continue implementing regional detention ponds and the use of existing funding sources to acquire properties to build additional drainage ponds.