Wittler elected president of new drainage board
Board members of the Consolidated Gravity Drainage District No. 2 (East Calcasieu) met for the first time Tuesday, electing officers and adopting various policies to help streamline operations going forward.
The Police Jury voted in March to consolidate the drainage districts from seven to two. The eastern district took in Gravity Drainage District 4 of Ward 3, District 7 of Ward 8, District 8 of Ward 1 and District 9 of Ward 2.
The West Calcasieu consolidated drainage board, which took in three existing districts, held its first meeting Monday.
Mike Wittler was named board president, and Darby Quinn was named vice president. Other members include Craig Schultz, Donnie Green, James “Gary” Gobert, Theodore Jones and Clinton Leger.
Other board-approved action included an agreement between the Police Jury to help with performing district duties, a new human resources manual and procurement policy and an agreement between the consolidated district and the districts it absorbed.
Wittler said consolidating the districts is “more than just improving drainage.”
“It’s going to improve how we do the work, administer staff,” he said. “I think we can save some money by consolidating a lot of the issues.”
Work in the previous drainage districts will not be affected, Wittler said. He said members from each board worked together to organize operations before meeting.
“The superintendents are all on board with it, and I think we can make this work,” Wittler said.
Alberto Galan, with the office of parish administrator, said the framework was set up so that residents won’t experience any interruptions in service.
“It took a lot of hard work, a lot of give and take,” he said. “This was basically the starting line to look at the big picture. Ultimately, we want these boards to have more influence.”
Galan said all bodies should work together when dealing with drainage issues.
“The political boundaries still do not dictate how water flows; it really is the watersheds that dictate that,” he said.
Cade Cole, legal counsel for both boards, said there will be more efforts to streamline capital drainage improvement projects. He said parish money is being invested in these projects, along with a partnership between the parish and the drainage districts to get additional money.
“As the parish grows, I think people are figuring out that’s necessary to get more money into capital projects,” he said.
Both boards will call a tax in 2020 for a replacement millage.
The Police Jury meeting room is reserved once a month for board meetings where a larger audience is anticipated.