Yesterday was a good day for moving forward on pump stations, but it might not turn out so well for New Orleans taxpayers.
While the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and state and local officials signed an agreement Tuesday and gave a green light for constructing permanent pump stations at the three Lake Pontchartrain outfall canals, paying for the maintenance and operation of the stations remains a concern.
Orleans Sewerage and Water Board will be responsible for operation and maintenance costs, estimated at $10 million annually by S&WB director Marcia St. Martin, according to the Corps Col. Robert Sinkler. His comments came during a New Orleans City Council meeting in December, and the councils response wasnt encouraging:
Theyre already broke, Councilwoman Shelley Midura, adding it didnt seem fair to place the burden on S&WB.
Councilmember At-Large Arnie Fielkow told Sinkler that SW&B does not have an additional $10 million in its budget to accommodate the maintenance and operation costs. Fielkow, who sits on the board for SW&B, said the money would have to be raised through a property tax millage increase.