Eight months in, Danahay has feet on the ground

Heather Regan White / The American Press

Sulphur Mayor Mike Danahay said this week that he feels like he’s got his feet on the ground.

Danahay, who has been in office now for eight months, told Sulphur Rotarians the “last time I was here I was like a blind man running through a forest.”

“It’s changed a lot since then,” he said.

Danahay said the city is in a “pretty good spot financially.”

He said the large influx of people coupled with several new businesses have contributed to the city’s income.

“We’re not wasting that,” he said. “We’re plowing it back into our infrastructure because that’s what a municipality is supposed to do.”

Danahay came into office with a two-year backlog in street overlay projects, many of them waiting for utility companies to sign off on. He said his first move was to get in touch with utility representatives to get the ball rolling.

The first of those projects was Hazel Street, which Danahay said was in bad shape. The bid for its overlay has been awarded, and weather-permitting, work will begin in March or April. Danahay said asphalt can’t be laid if the temperature is too low.

The Ruth-Huntington Street and Henning-Weekly Road overlays are both cooperative projects with the state’s transportation department, and will likely take longer because of that. The city is awaiting word from the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development about a timeline for Ruth Street. The Henning-Weekly Road project isn’t expected to kick off until the spring.

Danahay said a sewage pipe in Maplewood collapsed a few weeks ago, allowing dirt and sand to clog 3,000 feet of line and bring a lift station to a grinding halt. The city had to hire a contractor to transport the contents from the lift station to the wastewater plant for processing. The lift station is back up and crews are hydroblasting the lines. There are temporary sewer lines down in Pinewood.

Danahay said fire and police personnel are the most expensive employees, but operationally, handling wastewater is the most expensive.

“It’s caustic and eats everything up … stainless steel, concrete, everything,” he said.

Danahay said the price of one piece of equipment such as a barrel separator to separate solids and liquids costs $250,000. That comes to $3 million for the 12 barrel separators at each of the city’s seven plants.

Danahay joked it can sometimes seem as if tax dollars are literally going down the toilet.

He said a $5.8 million water line rehab project is also underway.

To address drainage hot spots throughout the city, data from insurance claims was evaluated. Danahay said a sizable chunk of funding will be in the next fiscal year’s budget to address drainage.””

Mayor Mike Danahay

Heather Regan White / The American Press

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