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Editor/Consulting Writer

There was a quick vote and little discussion among the St. Landry Parish Solid Waste Commission members Monday as they unanimously approved an agreement that will allow Evangeline Parish to pay for bringing residential garbage into the Beggs landfill.

The cooperative endeavor agreement between the parishes is not scheduled to become effective until July 1, 2025, but several members of the large crowd attending the regular meeting questioned whether there is an acute financial need for accepting garbage brought from beyond the St. Landry borders.

Details of the agreement between the parishes will be discussed during contract negotiations, said SWC legal advisor James Doherty, Jr.

It’s also unclear according to minutes provided at the meeting whether the request from Evangeline to bring garbage into St. Landry was discussed by any of the SWC committees before it was placed on the Monday agenda.

Burden For Evangeline?

St. Landry landfill executive director Richard LeBouef explained that Evangeline Parish anticipates “a financial burden” and a “difficult predicament” with its current dumping site, Timberlane Landfill in Allen Parish.

According to a letter from Evangeline Parish executive director Patrick Derouselle that LeBouef read during the meeting, Waste Connections has informed Derouselle that the price for bringing Evangeline garbage to Allen Parish could rise by $15 a ton by July, 2025.

“They (Evangeline Parish) are just not sure how to handle it,” LeBouef said.

It’s About Money

LeBouef admitted however, that the parish and St. Landry municipalities have cashed in from at least two previous agreements in which the SWC approved bringing Evangeline garbage into St. Landry.

Evangeline previously paid a cumulative $14 million to St. Landry for bringing garbage into St. Landry,, said LeBouef.

“A lot of mayors and the Council can use that money,” LeBouef added.

Is There A Need?

Tommy DeJean, who attended the meeting, told the SWC that the current financial situation at the landfill indicates that accepting Evangeline Parish money in exchange for St. Landry landfill space appears fiscally unnecessary.

“You’re self-sufficient with plenty of money. There’s no need to bring in trash from somewhere else,” DeJean told the Commission.

DeJean felt there are a number of unanswered questions the SWC should also consider, including the extent of the claim of financial hardship by Evangeline Parish.

“Why (is the SWC) doing this? There is no need (for the SWC) to take the money (from Evangeline). Why are we helping them out?” asked DeJean.

Commission chairwoman Kathy Moreau told DeJean that Evangeline expects to experience a financial burden with its residential trash collection.

“They are asking (the Commission) to help them out,” Moreau added.

A parishwide .08 percent sales tax collected by the SWC indicates collections through March are up by 11.02 percent over the same three months of 2023.

The SWC according to a March, 2024 balance sheet shows the Commission has total net assets of $9.23 million and a March general fund revenue balance of $521,582.68.