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      RS 33:4064.4     

  

§4064.4. Powers of commission

           A. The commission shall have the power to expropriate property pursuant to R.S. 19:2, et seq., whenever necessary or convenient for its purposes. Title to the property shall be in the name of the commission. The commission shall have the authority to acquire or dispose of such parcels, servitudes, or rights-of-way necessary in the conduct of its business. The commission shall be authorized, subject to the approval of the governing authority of St. Tammany Parish, to use any public street, road, servitude, or right-of-way in the conduct of its business at no cost to the commission.

           B.(1) The commission shall be authorized to inspect any individual, public, profit, nonprofit, or not-for-profit sewerage or water system located in the unincorporated portion of St. Tammany Parish, and direct the correction, addition, installation, removal, relocation, adjustment, or upgrading of any such system in accordance with provisions of the state Sanitary Code, other applicable parish ordinances, and state and local regulations.

           (2) Only with regard to sewerage or water systems located in that portion of the unincorporated areas of St. Tammany Parish defined by ordinance of the St. Tammany Parish Police Jury as the "Growth Management Area" as amended from time to time, if no or insufficient action is taken after proper notice of such direction, the commission, upon expiration of the time prescribed in the notice to accomplish the work directed shall complete the work directed and assess the operator or operators of such system, the owner or owners of such system, or the ancestors in title to the property on which the system is located, or any corporate office, or any or all of them, hereinafter individually or collectively known as "the responsible person", whose action or inaction has been determined to be the cause for the issuance of said notice of direction, for the reasonable cost of such work and, in addition thereto, may impose a penalty not to exceed one hundred dollars per day for each day the deficiency existed from date of said notice of such direction, not to exceed ten thousand dollars. Should the responsible person fail to pay such costs and/or penalties, the commission shall be authorized to file an affidavit of lien on the system and/or any property found or within St. Tammany Parish which is owned by the responsible person, and shall include any property owned by a corporate officer or an ancestor of title to the property on which such system is located, specifically identifying the property or system affected and the amount of the costs and/or penalties to date of filing and that may be accruing. Subject to proper notice, any such lien filed on real property may be added to the annual ad valorem tax bill of such owner or owners on such property.

           (3) Any responsible person who has been assessed a penalty may appeal the imposition of the penalty in writing to the board of the commission which shall hear the appeal in an open and public session. Any subsequent and final appeal shall be to the 22nd Judicial District Court.

           (4) If upon the inspection of any sewerage or water system, it is found not to be in accordance with the provisions of the state Sanitary Code, other applicable parish ordinances, or state or local regulations, in lieu of completing the work as provided and authorized in Paragraph B(2) of this Section, the commission or its duly authorized representative shall notify the responsible person of the deficient condition and direct said responsible person within a specified period of time to remedy the deficient condition and to conform with the provisions of the aforesaid code, ordinances, or regulations. If upon reinspection, the deficient condition is found to nevertheless exist, then, in addition to all other remedies provided by law, the commission is authorized to file suit to restrain and enjoin the responsible person from continuing the nonconforming activity, and/or compel the responsible person to remedy the deficient condition.

           (5) The commission shall notify a responsible person of any notice of direction issued pursuant to a provision of this Subsection by certified mail or by serving a copy of said notice of direction on the responsible person by a person qualified to make such service.

           (6) In carrying out any of the powers provided in this Subsection, the commission or its duly authorized representative is authorized to enter private and public properties.

           (7) Nothing contained in this Subsection shall authorize the commission to demand, necessitate, or otherwise require any remedial action by the responsible person of a sewerage or water system when said action is duplicative or preemptive of, or in conflict with any action imposed by an appropriate state authority.

           C. The commission shall be authorized to adopt rules and regulations relative to the impact upon, and the construction, modification, perpetuation, sustenance, operation, maintenance, connection, and inspection of sewerage and water systems and the provision and/or supervision of environmental services, all within the unincorporated portion of St. Tammany Parish, including rules and regulations to prevent abandonment or obstruction of, interference with, or damage to such systems and, with regard to the provisions of R.S. 33:4169.1 et seq., to define, supervise, and license such environmental services upon the direction and consent of the governing authority of St. Tammany Parish. To enforce the provisions of any such rules or regulations, the commission may avail itself of the relevant penalty provisions specified in Subsection B and, in addition thereto, may terminate or require the termination of any utility service. Such rules and regulations shall be adopted in accordance with the procedural rules of the commission, including publication in complete or summary form in the official journal of St. Tammany Parish.

           D. The commission shall have authority over all construction necessary or incidental to the provision of sewage disposal and water in the unincorporated portion of St. Tammany Parish. Plans and specifications for sewerage and water systems to be constructed in said portion of St. Tammany Parish shall be submitted to and approved by the commission prior to initiating such construction, and the conduct of such construction shall be subject to inspection by the commission. Copies of any amendments to plans and specifications for such systems shall also be submitted to the commission, and the commission shall approve such amendments prior to operation of such systems.

           E. The commission may perform such tasks relative to sewerage and water systems as it may be authorized to perform by the Louisiana Department of Health, the Department of Environmental Quality, the Department of Transportation and Development, the Department of Public Service, and the Department of Natural Resources. The aforesaid departments shall be authorized to assist the commission in the enforcement of its promulgated rules and regulations, to notify and advise the commission of any condition, hazard, or other factor which may affect public health, and to make such recommendations to the commission which may affect the correction of said condition, hazard, or factor. Each aforesaid department shall be authorized to execute with the commission a letter of understanding and/or agreement, the intent of which shall be to assure no parallel, preemptive, and/or converse enforcement or regulatory action by either entity.

           F. The commission is authorized to award contracts for construction or operation of sewerage and water systems within the unincorporated portion of St. Tammany Parish. The commission may also establish rules for awarding contracts in the event of emergency and extreme emergency.

           G. The commission shall, upon authorization by the governing authority of St. Tammany Parish, establish a plumbing code for the unincorporated portion of St. Tammany Parish and monitor licensed plumbing contractors operating within said portion of that parish. The commission may amend the plumbing code as necessary.

           H.(1) The commission shall have the authority to plan, finance, acquire, construct, purchase, own, let, lease, maintain, operate, and improve, or otherwise extend sewerage and water systems within the unincorporated portion of St. Tammany Parish. To the extent that drainage improvements are a necessary adjunct or otherwise essential to the improvement, conservation, or recovery of any sewerage or water system, the commission shall have the authority to construct and maintain new drainage works at its expense, provided that such drainage construction or maintenance work is in accordance with the master plan and other rules and regulations for drainage by the governing authority of St. Tammany Parish.

           (2)(a) Except as provided in Subparagraph (b) of this Paragraph, in lieu of the commission effecting the construction, improvement, or extension of a sewerage or water system, the commission shall permit an available public or private provider of sewerage or water service to effect the construction, improvement, or extension upon the written request of the provider.

           (b) The provisions of Subparagraph (a) of this Paragraph, shall have no effect when such construction, improvement, or extension of a sewerage or water system is:

           (i) Subject to the provisions of R.S. 33:4064.5(H).

           (ii) For the use by a governmental entity or by a customer or beneficiary of a defunct or abandoned sewerage or water system, shared or jointly owned or operated or leased sewerage or water system, or of a sewerage or water system which is donated or sold to, or otherwise acquired by the commission.

           (iii) An element of, or is a commission owned, operated, or leased wide-area, regional sewage collection or treatment facility or water source, treatment, storage, or distribution facility, or any element thereof.

           (c) The commission shall be authorized to adopt rules and regulations relative to the enforcement of the provisions of this Paragraph.

           (3) Notwithstanding anything contained in this Subpart to the contrary, any system acquired or operated by the commission shall not be expanded by the commission beyond the existing infrastructure when a private facility exists in the area and is capable of, and chooses to provide such expanded service.

           I. The commission may, subject to approval by the governing authority of St. Tammany Parish, exercise any and all authority granted by this Subpart within any municipality located within St. Tammany Parish upon approval by the governing authority of that municipality as provided in a contract between the commission and said municipal authority.

           J. In exercising its authority under this Subpart, the commission shall be subject to the authority of the Department of Health and Human Resources, the Department of Environmental Quality, and the Department of Natural Resources.

           K. The commission shall be authorized to acquire ownership of property, both movable and immovable, corporeal and incorporeal, by gift, grant, purchase, condemnation proceedings, or any other means, to lease such property as lessee; and to hold and use any such property as it is necessary or desirable for carrying out the objects and purposes of the commission. The commission shall also be authorized to sell, lease as lessor, exchange, transfer, and dispose of any property or interest therein at any time acquired by it whenever the commission shall determine that such property is not necessary for its purposes.

           L. Notwithstanding any provision of this Subpart to the contrary, enforcement employees of the commission shall be vested with the same authority and powers with respect to issuing civil citations for violations of state littering laws and regulations and parish littering ordinances as are conferred upon regular law enforcement officers of this state. Such employees may exercise such authority and powers throughout St. Tammany Parish.

           Acts 1986, No. 934, §1; Acts 1992, No. 1051, §1, eff. July 13, 1992; Acts 1993, No. 833, §1, eff. June 22, 1993; Acts 1999, No. 149, §1.



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