The following answers were provided by Mike Smith running for Council District 9 in St. Tammany Parish:

1. What do you think is the single most important drainage issue in your district and what are your proposals to solve and fund it?

Improving the flow and capacity of the W-15 canal which is the main drainage transport from much of my district ultimately into the West Pearl River. Funds and plans are already in place to open a new retention pond, widen the W-15 at the end of the canal to carry a greater volume of water. I want to oversee that process, mitigating any problems and insuring the completion as rapidly as safely possible. A longer term project would be to get the tributaries of the West Pearl dredged to accept more water, Permission to do this and funding would have to be a multi level effort of federal, state and local government, with the bulk of the funding coming from the federal and state governments.

2. What is your definition of economic development in St. Tammany Parish? What criteria should be used in granting property tax exemptions and what property tax exemptions do you support?

I like the pace and state of commercial retail development in St. Tammany but not in the light and medium level industrial sectors. I would like to see more of these type development done in order to provide jobs with salaries in the $20-$30 range with benefits for graduates of our high schools so that they can establish families and contribute meaningfully to our quality of life in St. Tammany. I believe property tax exemption levels, types and durations should be tied to meaningful job numbers and targeted for these jobs rather than service type entry jobs.

3. Should the parish government acquire, operate and maintain private sewage and water systems?  Why or why not?

I believe philosophically and from observing the difficulties and expenses of operating such systems in the case of New Orleans and here in my home subdivision of Crossgates that these, type systems should be left in the private sector whenever possible.

4. Heavy rain events are becoming more frequent and severe.  How has this impacted your district?  What are your plans for mitigating the effects?

We have had some street flooding and a longer period for draining, after some very intense rain events. I believe that the W-15 projects and plans noted in the first question will ease these problems significantly and that working to dredge tributaries of the West Pearl as also outlined above will be of great benefit in this regard. I also believe we will have to continually be working on problem areas and projects and carefully examining new developments in the region with accurate studies of the effect of that development on drainage.