Slidell Council Members at Large

Two candidates are to be elected from the three candidates on the ballot.

Three questions were presented to each of the candidates. Here are their answers.

1. There are two issues that impact virtually everyone in St. Tammany Parish and especially Slidell – problems with household water quality and drainage.  Both of these are essential for a safe and healthy quality of life.  What are your plans to address these issues?  Please be specific.

William “Bill” Borchert, Jr. (I)

The City of Slidell has several issues that are currently affecting the quality of life in our community. However, water quality is not currently one of those issues. The problems that are headlining the news lately about water quality are those unincorporated areas surrounding the city limits of Slidell. The water and sewerage departments within the city limits exceed the state requirements for quality and have many years. The city has recently invested nearly $20 million towards the wastewater treatment facility and a new water well, as well as, connecting the two water supply systems together to improve future supply issues.

The issue of drainage is our biggest concern. As we all know, the city of Slidell is essentially surrounded by water and has an elevation of less than 30 feet. Many of our neighborhoods are adversely affected by tidal surges as well as storm driven winds. We need an effective levee system to protect these areas.

Jeff Burgoyne

Water purity is essential for the health of all our citizens in Slidell.  The City has 2 major wells, currently being connected together, to be sure we have pure and safe water for all – at all times.  Costs need to stay reasonable for our citizens.

Good drainage is also essential for our citizens to live and thrive in Slidell.  We must constantly assess the areas of the city that need drainage upgrades and consistently budget for the needed upgrades for neighborhoods and streets.  Some of the old drainage pipes are small in diameter from decades ago – they may need to be upgraded in size to handle the increases in drainage they now have to handle.  This process costs a lot of money, but incrementally over time, it can be accomplished throughout the city.

Glynn Pichon (I)

We are fortunate to have a proactive engineering department. Not only have we identified numerous projects that will greatly improve drainage and water quality throughout Slidell, but we have also completed inhouse, ground level engineering on many of these projects that will put us in more competitive position to secure funding from state and federal grants, specifically grants available through the recently passed Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. Billions in federal funds will be available to address these two issues, specifically. Many of these grants require matching funds. As a councilmember, I will continue to work closely with our administration to prioritize drainage and infrastructure improvement projects and work with my peers on the council to support funding them, and mediate issues that arise from our residents during the construction phase.

2. The trend nationwide favors on-line shopping over shopping in a “brick and mortar” mall. The closure of mall stores creates many problems. These stores are susceptible to vandalism; there is a loss of tax revenue; and the are is seen as a “ghost town” which drives other businesses away. This is an important issue that must be addressed. What are your plans to rehabilitate the closed malls in Slidell?

William “Bill” Borchert, Jr. (I)

Councilman Borchert convinced Mayor Cromer to recruit a national company that specializes in bringing companies to local municipalities for business opportunities. Several new businesses have been utilized by this national business recruiting company. Some of the success stories include, the revitalization of the old Toys R Us building into a new Aldi’s Grocery store, the Old Pizza Hut on Gause into a new Veterinary Clinic, the New Orleans Hamburger and Seafood into the Stanton Eye Wear and the Chicken Salad Chick building remodel just to name a few. The Northshore Mall is owned by a foreign company that has shown little interest in the many proposals presented to them.

Jeff Burgoyne

I will work with the other City Council members, Mayor Cromer, the Slidell City planning department, and the Permits department to bring pressure to the owners of these defunct properties.  Finding viable businesses to come into those areas (such as the Northshore Mall) is an ongoing effort that Mayor Cromer and the city are working on – and have been for several years.  I will push for a study on how best to utilize the vacant business buildings and then market that to National Companies that need access to our Interstate system.  Amazon is coming to Slidell for many reasons, one of them being our proximity to 3 major Interstates.  We should be able to capitalize on that and secure new land use for the old mall property. 

Glynn Pichon (I)

Unfortunately, as a city, we cannot force property owners to redevelop their properties, but we can ensure that they maintain their properties within the standards set forth by our ordinances to prevent vandalism. Fortunately, as city leaders, we can assist them in helping to bring their properties back into commerce through incentives and public-private opportunities, which we are currently doing. My plan is to continue to support these incentives and to continue to work with admin to identify potential suiters to invest in Slidell to encourage redevelopment of our defunct retail areas. Prior to Whole Foods development in Mandeville, I was actively involved in trying to land that store in Slidell, specifically in an area that not only revitalized a depressed retail space but also allowed the city to collect entire 2% sales tax.

3. The downside of economic development is that it results in localized traffic congestion.  How do you propose to be proactive to avoid traffic problems?

William “Bill” Borchert, Jr. (I)

Smart growth is important anytime economic development occurs. Slidell has been laid out in such a way that more than one access street is available. The unincorporated areas around Slidell, are a concern for local elected officials and citizens alike.

Jeff Burgoyne

I will work with the 8 other Council members, Mayor Cromer, the City Engineers, the City Planning department and local businesses and citizens to examine the problem of traffic congestion during certain times of the day and in certain places in Slidell.  We need to be smart with the plan, time the lights on the major roadways to allow free flow of traffic to begin with.  Smart planning of roadways is so very important to keep the flow steady – and a constant evaluation of our progress by the City engineers is essential. The Slidell 2040 plan needs to be implemented to insure smart future growth of all areas of Slidell.
I love that businesses want to locate and expand in Slidell.  The City Council and Mayor Cromer are responsible to be sure we have the smartest plan in place for growth to take place, and be able to keep our traffic problems in check.

Glynn Pichon (I)

Traffic studies are generally required as a planning component of new development in Slidell. As city leaders, it is imperative that we consider the reality of the limitations of our major thoroughfares and the access they provide to our residential areas as well as commercial areas when considering new developments.  Also, we are surrounded by over 70,000 people who do not live within city proper but utilize city amenities, which also contributes to traffic congestion. Currently, we are looking into opening at least one north-south street to relieve congestion on Sgt. Alfred and Front and reduce traffic through residential areas. I’ve been a strong proponent of this as speeding through neighborhoods is an ongoing issue that puts our residents at risk. My plan is to continue to support smart, responsible growth that considers traffic a top priority. Also, continue to participate in the city’s 2040 master plan, push for the Hwy 11 widening project, continue to push for developing another north-south roadway, and participate in development meetings.